Photo: Stena IceMAX drillship; Source: Stena Drilling

BPC finds oil in Bahamas well but no commercial volumes

Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) has encountered hydrocarbons at its Perseverance #1 well off The Bahamas, but the volumes of oil encountered are not commercial.

The Perseverance #1 well was spud on 20 December 2020, using the Stena IceMAX drillship. Drilling operations continued through to 7 February 2021.

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In an update on Monday, BPC said that the well successfully validated the structural model and the petroleum system, and drilled a majority of the potential reservoirs of interest, thus fulfilling the core technical objectives of the well.

Whilst the well encountered oil, indicated from LWD (Logging while drilling) tools, gas chromatography and mud logs, commercial volumes of oil have not been proven at this well location, BPC added.

Pre-drill, the well design allowed for a target depth of 4,800 meters across multiple potential reservoir horizons continuously through the Albian and Aptian aged stratigraphies, targeting P50 prospective oil resources of 0.77 billion barrels, with an upside of 1.44 billion barrels.

As of 6 February 2021, the well had reached a total depth of just over 3,900 meters. In reaching this depth, the well passed through multiple targeted reservoir sections in both the Albian and Upper and Mid Aptian horizons, which cumulatively accounted for approximately 70 per cent of the total pre-drill prospective volume estimates.

Costs of drilling may be viable at current oil prices

According to BPC, the information gleaned from the successful drilling of Perseverance #1 confirms that technical issues encountered during the drilling of historic offset wells (including extreme losses and very slow rate of penetration) which required several casing strings, can be overcome by the application of modern technologies and engineering design.

This is particularly important in demonstrating that the costs of drilling to deeper target reservoirs, including the important Jurassic horizons and the Lower Cretaceous, deeper water reef build-ups seen within the Santaren Channel, may be commercially viable at currently prevailing oil prices, BPC explained.

Depth and thickness of reservoir sections encountered in the Bahamas well were generally as prognosed pre-drill, and reservoir porosity was likewise generally in line with pre-drill expectations (in the range of 10 per cent – 20 per cent).

Hydrocarbons were encountered at various horizons, indicated by elevated gas chromatography readings detected continually during drilling, generally increasing with depth and through the deeper Aptian reservoir column in particular.

Oil was identified from high oil saturation values from logs in a number of reservoir sections thus verifying the existence of a working Lower Cretaceous petroleum system and reservoir quality sequences in the Aptian.

Given that the totality of the reservoir sections evaluated to 3,900 metres represented the majority (approximately 70%) of the total estimated prospective volumes, the lack of hydrocarbons in demonstrably commercial volumes led to the decision to TD the well at that point.

Simon Potter, CEO of BPC, said: “In a technical sense, the well successfully validated the existence of oil, seal and reservoir. Together, these factors verify the existence of a working Lower Cretaceous petroleum system and sequences of reservoir quality within the Aptian, pointing to the overall hydrocarbon potential of other untested prospects captured by BPC’s extensive acreage holding. However, at the Perseverance #1 location the volumes of oil encountered are not commercial.

“Perseverance #1 is the first exploration well in The Bahamas for decades, and the data gathered from this well will prove invaluable in providing a modern analysis as to the regional potential of the petroleum system, which, in our view, reduces the technical risk for any future/further exploration in this new frontier province”.

Bahamas well provides basis for farm-in talks

Over the coming weeks, BPC said it will be undertaking a detailed review of the technical data and results from the drilling of the Perseverance #1 well.

These results will be presented to the Government of The Bahamas in accordance with the company’s licence obligations.

A core focus of this review will be an assessment of the technical and value potential established by the drilling of Perseverance #1, and the definition of further activities that will maximise the company’s ability to monetise and thus create value from its acreage holding in The Bahamas.

The company considers the results from the Bahamas well – notably the confirmation of migrated oil within the Aptian reservoirs – will significantly reduce the technical risk for any future/further exploration in this new frontier province.

In particular, BPC considers that the results from Perseverance #1 may provide a strong technical basis for renewed farm-in discussions, with a view to future drilling at other target locations within BPC’s licence areas.