Cyclone Veronica halts Jadestone’s Stag drilling program off Australia

Just as Singapore’s Jadestone Energy was getting ready to start its infill drilling program at the Stag oilfield located offshore Australia, the company was forced to halt its operations and de-man the Stag platform and a drilling rig due to tropical cyclone Veronica. 

Ensco 107

Jadestone, a 100% owner and operator of the producing Stag oil field, said in early March it would drill the first Stag well in six years during this month. Jadestone secured the Ensco 107 jack-up rig for the Stag infill drilling campaign. The first well in the campaign was named Stag 49-H well.

On Monday, March 25 Jadestone said that the Ensco 107 jack-up rig arrived on location at the Stag platform on March 15, 2019. Preparations for drilling progressed safely and on schedule, when operations were paused due to severe weather conditions related to tropical cyclone Veronica.

Jadestone said that both the rig and platform were made safe and de-manned, ready to resume operations once conditions improve.

Paul Blakeley, President and CEO commented: “The safety of our people is paramount in our business and our procedures require us to shut-down operations and de-man the facility during severe storm conditions. Tropical storms are expected in the area in December and through February and we plan for two to three such weather-related events annually, which apply equally to drilling as well as production operations. Though this storm is later than usual, our response in such circumstances is clear.”

According to the company, weather conditions are already easing and drilling operations will resume once it is safe for personnel to return offshore. Thereafter, the well will take approximately 34 days to drill, and is expected to be completed using an electric submersible pump and brought on production shortly thereafter. The well is targeting approximately 1.2mmbbls of unswept 2P oil reserves in a higher-pressure area of the Stag oilfield, just west of the platform.

Jadestone was not the only operator offshore Australia forced to halt operations due to severe weather caused by the cyclone. Namely, Australia’s Woodside evacuated all workers from its offshore platforms ahead of the cyclone Veronica. The cyclone was located some 95 kilometers east-northeast of Karratha at 5.00 am AWST on Monday, March 25.

In an update at 5:47 pm EDT Monday, Australian Bureau of Meteorology said: “Tropical Cyclone “Veronica” lies very close to the WA coast near Port Hedland. Cloud is streaming southeastwards from this system over central Western Australia and into South Australia.”