i3 Energy wraps up this year’s drilling program with ‘very large oil field’ potential

Oil and gas company i3 Energy has concluded its 2019 drilling program in the UK North Sea with all three wells drilled within budget. i3 will now prepare for a multi-well appraisal planned for the summer of 2020.

Borgland Dolphin rig / Image by Stig Silden/Wikimedia – shared under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

i3 Energy’s final well in the 2019 drilling program, the Liberator well 13/23c-11, reached total depth (TD) in the Valhall shale earlier this week and the initial results showed the sand thickness above the oil-water contact was “lower than anticipated.”

In an update on Thursday, the company said that wireline logging operations on Liberator well 13/23c-11 had been completed and the well was being plugged and abandoned as planned, following which the Borgland Dolphin drilling rig would be demobilized.

According to the company, the 13/23c-11 well has corroborated i3’s mapping of the Liberator field, which was revised following the 13/23c-9 well result and subsequent acquisition and analysis of new seismic data. This has confirmed an extensive sand body (200+ feet), an oil water contact (OWC) matching the regional expectation at 5270 ft true vertical depth subsea (TVDSS), and an important residual oil column below the OWC.

Collectively these mitigate the risk of oil migration westward to fill the A3 and A4 culminations and the Minos High structure in Liberator West, which the company estimates to contain up to 400 million barrels (MMbbls) of stock tank oil initially in place (STOIIP).

Initial analysis of wireline logs from the 13/23c-11 well confirms the presence of oil in a 15 ft true vertical thickness (TVT) Captain sand with an oil down to (ODT) at the predicted regional OWC of 5270 ft TVDSS and pressure data confirms hydrostatic pressure communication throughout the basin from Liberator through to Serenity, as predicted by i3’s geological model.

The observed oil column in 13/23c-11 is thinner than the level i3 would target for a development well location and so the company will, in the near term, focus on a simplified Liberator Phase I development initially consisting of a low-cost, single-well development tied into existing infrastructure.




The company continues to evaluate and integrate into its regional model the results from the 13/23c-10 Serenity discovery well, which together with data from the 13/23c-9 and 13/23c-11 Liberator wells, has substantively de-risked i3’s pre-drill, regional subsurface interpretation and helped to refine and improve its understanding of the hydrocarbon distribution in the sub-basin.

Confirmation of an OWC at 5270 ft TVDSS supports i3’s expectation of a substantial oil volume in Serenity (estimated at 197 MMbbls STOIIP). i3’s modelling indicates a potential connection of Serenity to the Tain oil field, for which a field development plan is being prepared by the Tain operator.


Multi-well appraisal ahead 


The company will now prepare for a multi-well appraisal of Serenity and the Liberator West area in the summer of 2020, which will aim to de-risk a considerable portion of the aggregate 600 MMbbl potential STOIIP identified in these structures. Development options for Liberator and Serenity will be progressed focusing initially on the utilization of existing infrastructure.

The plan remains subject to the sourcing of additional funding. i3 will continue working with senior lenders on a Phase I Liberator development facility while it pursues potential partnerships to finance the wider 2020 appraisal of Serenity and Liberator.

Post 2019 drilling, i3 expects to have sufficient resources to fund its G&A requirements through 2020.

Majid Shafiq, CEO of i3 Energy commented: “We have come to the end of our 2019 drilling program, which has delivered a major success in the Serenity discovery, a structure which has the potential to be a very large oil field. The discovery validates i3’s regional geological model which is based on exhaustive and detailed static and dynamic subsurface modeling and predicts very large resource volumes in Serenity and Liberator.

“The two wells drilled on Liberator also confirm extensive Captain sand deposition to the west of the Liberator discovery well and have appreciably reduced migration risk into the Minos High structure which has the potential, like Serenity, to be a significant oil field. We will now progress appraisal of Serenity and Liberator West to seek to add reserves and resources, whilst continuing to progress development options for Serenity and Liberator and look forward to another very active year in 2020.

“This year’s drilling campaign has been a major undertaking for a company of our size, and we’d like to thank those noteholders and equity investors who have funded our operations. i3 will continue to progress its ongoing funding initiatives while exploring all options in order to maximize value for shareholders.”

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