Dana-operated FPSO Triton lies approximately 6 km to the northeast in the UK Central North Sea; Source: Tailwind Energy

Drilling program and well intervention campaign on Serica’s 2024 agenda in North Sea

UK-based oil and gas company Serica Energy is preparing to kick off its four-well drilling campaign and well work-over program in the UK sector of the North Sea. The UK player has also outlined drilling and other activities on non-operated fields, which are in the offing over the next two years.

Dana-operated FPSO Triton lies approximately 6 km to the northeast in the UK Central North Sea; Source: Tailwind Energy

Based on Serica’s program of organic investments, the planned activities are set to be carried out during 2024 and extend into 2025 and 2026. The company’s investments in 2024 encompass four wells in the Triton area – Bittern B1z sidetrack, Gannet E GE-05, Guillemot North West EC1, and Evelyn EV-02 – along with well intervention work on the Bruce and Keith fields. The spudding of the B1z sidetrack is now expected to be in March 2024.

This well and the subsequent three wells are scheduled to take about three months each to drill, meaning that drilling will continue into 2025. The UK player has also exercised an option to keep a rig for a further well, following the completion of the fourth well in the program (EV-02). The production from the B1z sidetrack is anticipated to start shortly after the completion of drilling.

In line with this, the production from each of the other three wells is expected to start around thirty days after the drilling of each well is out of the way. Located approximately 190 km east of Aberdeen in water depths of 90 m, the Triton area consists of eight producing oil fields: Evelyn, Bittern, Guillemot West and Guillemot Northwest, Gannet E, Clapham, Pict, and Saxon.

These fields were developed via the FPSO Triton in the UK Central North Sea. Dana Petroleum Limited and Waldorf Production UK Limited act as Serica’s partners in the Triton cluster, after the firm acquired the entire issued share capital of Tailwind Energy Investments in a deal worth approximately £367 million.

Mitch Flegg, Chief Executive of Serica, commented: “Production in 2024 is expected to be higher than in 2023 with guidance between 41,000 boe/d and 48,000 boe/d for the year. This reflects a range of outcomes in a year of significant activity including the speed with which the scheduled drilling and well work deliver incremental production. Serica’s strategy of investing in its assets continues to be central to our record of consistently achieving high levels of reserves replacement, combined with increased levels of production.

“We are looking forward, therefore, to the start of the four-well Triton area drilling program in March, with the benefits of added production expected to start coming through in the second half of the year. During 2024 there is also an extensive program of interventions in both platform and subsea wells on the Bruce and Keith fields. The objectives include re-establishing consistent production from the Keith field.”

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Serica’s Bruce and Keith light well intervention campaign, which will be done with a light well intervention vessel (LWIV), is on track to take place between March and May 2024 and follows previous campaigns in 2022 and 2023, which have delivered low-cost incremental production. The company hopes to restart production from the Keith field in 2024 after the preparation work on the subsea facilities was carried out in 2023.

Moreover, additional well interventions from the Bruce platform are scheduled for the second half of 2024. The estimated cost to Serica of the currently approved capital investment in its producing assets in the Bruce and Triton hubs is approximately £210 million, before tax relief. Most of the expenditures are expected to be incurred in 2024. The UK firm claims that both the NEO Energy-operated Buchan field redevelopment and Belinda field development projects are moving towards potential sanction.

While the environmental statement and draft field development plan for the Buchan project have been submitted, the completion of Serica’s acquisition of a 30% interest is expected to occur during February. The Belinda draft field development plan was submitted in September 2023.

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In addition, the company is also maturing plans for two infill wells on the Bruce field, intending to drill in 2026. The Skerryvore joint venture, in which Serica holds a 20% interest, is working towards drilling a license commitment exploration well during late 2024 or the first half of 2025.

Flegg added: “Our plans for drilling two Bruce infill wells, the first new wells on the field since 2012, are progressing and, during the next eighteen months, we will be participating in the Parkmead-operated Skerryvore exploration well situated in the UK Central North Sea.

Serica is extremely well placed, therefore, to continue its track record of replacing reserves and increasing production. This platform has been achieved while maintaining a very strong balance sheet, which is both the result and enabler of our strategy to invest and grow organically and through disciplined M&A.”