Serica nearing decision on North Sea Columbus

Serica Energy hopes to deliver a development plan by year-end for the Columbus gas/condensate field in the UK central North Sea blocks 23/16f and 23/21a.

Offshore staff

LONDONSerica Energy hopes to deliver a development plan by year-end for the Columbus gas/condensate field in the UK central North Sea blocks 23/16f and 23/21a.

The field is close to the Lomond platform, the offtake route for production from the Erskine field in which Serica is also a partner.

Serica aims to start development work in 2018 and is targeting first gas for late 2019 or 2020.

Columbus has been fully appraised via four wells and will be developed with a single production well.

Serica is assessing two development options. One involves drilling an extended-reach development well into Columbus from the Lomond platform, 5 km (3.1 mi) away.

The other option is to drill the well as a subsea completion, tied into a third-party pipeline to Shell’s Shearwater platform.

The Lomond platform has spare well slots and a jackup can be used to drill a well into Columbus from this facility. In this case, no pipeline or associated subsea equipment would be required so the time to hookup of the well and bringing it on production would be much shorter.

A platform well also offers easy access for future well maintenance interventions and lower-cost abandonment.

In addition, producing Columbus through the Lomond platform could benefit the Erskine and Lomond fields by cutting operating costs while improving the product mix, in both cases deferring the date of platform abandonment.

In parallel, Serica is working with the Arran field operator to appraise the option of tying Columbus into a proposed new pipeline into the Shearwater platform.

This would be a longer offtake route and the Columbus development well would be drilled as a subsea completion. Here the advantages are a shorter drilling time and the potential for lower unit operating costs.

However, development costs would be higher, with greater complexity involved in coordinating with a separate field development, hence a longer development timeline.

In the East Irish Sea off northwest England, Serica has a 20% stake in blocks 113/22a, 113/26b, and 113/27c containing the Doyle gas prospect.

This is close to, and analogous to, the producing Rhyl field operated by Centrica.

Serica is carried for the cost of an exploration well on the prospect up to a gross cap of £11 million ($13.7 million). However, if a partner cannot be brought in to share the drilling costs, the licensees may have to relinquish the blocks.

Britain’s Oil & Gas Authority has granted an extension of the license until April 30.

In the Rockall basin off northwest Ireland, Serica has 100% of frontier exploration licenses 1/09 and 4/13.

In the latter case, it has secured a two-year extension to attract a partner to co-fund an exploration well.

This would test two prospects - the shallower prospect is a Cretaceous fan defined by seismic anomaly and analogous to other structures identified in the Porcupine basin. It overlies a deeper target, a structural fault block of Permian/Triassic age, analogous to the nearby Dooish discovery.

Serica estimates P50 resources for these stacked prospects in the range 4 tcf of gas and 250 MMbbl of condensate, sufficient (if proven) for a major development.

License 1/09 contains a large structural prospect, also a Dooish analogue. Here Serica is seeking a partner to drill a well to prove the concept, ideally as part of the same drilling program as for 4/13.

This year the company plans further work on the licenses to assess the potential for productive fractured basement, as proven by Hurricane in the west of Shetland area to the north.

InIreland’s offshore Slyne basin, frontier exploration license 01/06, Serica has increased its equity to 100% following the withdrawal of DEA and has secured a two-year extension to explore the potential first identified through the Bandon oil discovery drilled in 2009.

The company plans to de-risk the Boyne prospect, down-dip of Bandon, to better predict the oil type likely to be found in the deeper Jurassic and Triassic sandstone formations.

Again, it is seeking a farm-in partner for drilling. It estimates potential resources at 115 MMbbl of oil, with potential for a speedy development.


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