Cairn gearing up for drilling campaign offshore Mexico

UK-based oil and gas company Cairn Energy will drill three wells in Mexican waters this year, two as operator and one as a partner.   

Maersk Developer
Maersk Developer drilling rig. Source: Maersk Drilling/Flickr

Cairn holds three licenses offshore Mexico, in Block 7 (Cairn 35% WI), Block 9 (Cairn operator 65% WI), and Block 15 (Cairn operator 50% WI), covering a total acreage position of 2,080 km2 in a highly prolific, yet under-explored region.

In its 2018 full year results announcement on Tuesday, Cairn said that the first well in the company’s Mexico program will be drilled on the Eni-operated Block 7.

Cairn informed that the operator is progressing all required permits. In addition, a site survey will compete shortly and well selection and preparations are well advanced to start drilling in 3Q 2019. An additional well is planned on Block 7 in 2020.

The second well will be on the Cairn-operated Block 9. The exploration plan has been approved and a rig contract is in place with Maersk for the Maersk Developer semi-submersible drilling rig and a group services package with Schlumberger for onshore and supply base operations.

To remind, Cairn in early February inked a 110-day contract with Maersk Drilling for the Maersk Developer rig, starting September 2019. Cairn also got four option wells to further extend the contract for the 2009-built semi-submersible drilling unit, potentially keeping the rig busy until June 2020.

Drilling operations are expected to start in 3Q 2019 targeting the Alom prospect, followed by an additional well targeting the Bitol prospect in 4Q 2019 (also Cairn operated). This will be the third well in Cairn’s Mexico program.

On Block 15, the exploration plan was submitted in 4Q 2018 and an environmental baseline survey completed in 1Q 2019. Cairn said that further evaluation of the block is ongoing.


UK & Norway 


Elsewhere, Cairn plans to drill a total of four exploration wells in Norway and the UK this year, three as operator and one as a partner.

The first well in the program, operated by Equinor, is Presto (Cairn 30% WI) which has started operations with the Transocean Spitsbergen rig on PL885 in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

The second well in the program is expected to be Lynghaug, Cairn’s first operated well in Norway. Lynghaug (Cairn 50% WI), license PL758, is expected to spud in the third quarter of 2019. Success in this well could lead to follow on exploration opportunities along the Nordland Ridge. Lynghaug will be drilled by the Transocean Arctic drilling rig.

The third well in the program is Godalen (Cairn 40% WI) in license PL842, Cairn’s second operated well in Norway, which is expected to spud in the fourth quarter of 2019. Godalen will also be drilled by the Transocean Arctic semi-sub rig.

Namely, as reported in February, Cairn’s Capricorn awarded a two-well contract in the Norwegian North Sea to the Transocean Arctic rig. The work is scheduled to start in May and end in July 2019.

The fourth well in the program is Chimera (Cairn 60% WI) in license P2312 in the UK North Sea, Cairn’s second operated well in the UK, which is expected to spud in 4Q 2019. In 4Q 2018, Cairn agreed to farm out a 40% WI in this license to Suncor Energy UK.

Offshore Energy Today Staff