Photo: Noble Discoverer rig (former Maersk Discoverer); Source: Noble Corp.

New spud window for exploration well in Guyana as Noble rig gets delayed

Canada’s CGX Energy and Frontera Energy, partners in the Corentyne block offshore Guyana, have revised the spud window for their second exploration well on this block since the rig, which has been hired to carry out drilling operations, has run into delays on its current assignment.

Following positive results from the first well, Kawa-1, Frontera Energy and CGX Energy disclosed a plan to spend up to $130 million on their second exploration well on the Corentyne block. After securing the funding for this well, the two players anticipated the spudding of the well, called Wei-1, to take place in October 2022.

To this end, the JV exercised its option to use the 2009-built Maersk Discoverer semi-submersible rig for the Wei-1 well, which was also confirmed by Maersk Drilling. Originally, the drilling contract for this rig was awarded in April 2021 for the drilling of the Kawa-1 exploration well on the Corentyne block.

After the business combination between offshore drilling contractors, Noble Corporation and Maersk Drilling, was completed in October 2022, creating “a new and dynamic leader in offshore drilling,” all rigs in Maersk Drilling’s fleet become part of the Noble fleet with newly assigned names. Therefore, the rig hired for the drilling of the Wei-1 well is now called Noble Discoverer.

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In an update on their progress in drilling this well, CGX and Frontera confirmed in separate statements on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, that the release of the Noble Discoverer drilling rig to CGX has been delayed due to “unforeseen challenges to the exploration activities of a third-party operator.” The duo explained that this situation is “beyond the reasonable control” of the JV.

Corentyne Block; Source: CGX Energy
Corentyne Block; Source: CGX Energy

According to Noble Corporation’s fleet status report, the Noble Discoverer rig was working for Shell in Trinidad and Tobago from March 2022 until October 2022, when the rig was supposed to move to Guyana to undertake the drilling of the Wei-1 well. Based on the information available on Noble’s website, this rig is still in Trinidad and Tobago and is slated to become available in December 2022.

Bearing this in mind, Frontera and CGX have sent the revised spud window for the Wei-1 well to the government of Guyana, expecting this to be between December 2022 and late January 2023.

Furthermore, the two players confirmed that final preparations are complete in advance of spudding the Wei-1 well, which will be located approximately 14 kilometres northwest of the Kawa-1 exploration well in the Corentyne block, approximately 200 kilometres offshore from Georgetown, Guyana.

Gabriel de Alba, Frontera’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, commented: “The company, through its joint venture with CGX, looks forward to building on the light oil and condensate discovery at Kawa-1 with the spudding of the Wei-1 well, offshore Guyana in between December 2022 and late January 2023, subject to rig release by the third-party operator.”

This well will be drilled in a water depth of approximately 1,912 feet (583 metres) to an anticipated total depth of 20,500 feet (6,248 metres), targeting Maastrichtian, Campanian and Santonian aged stacked channels in a western channel complex in the northern section of the Corentyne block.

Noble Discoverer is a DSS-21 column-stabilized dynamically positioned, sixth-generation semi-submersible drilling rig, capable of operating in water depths of up to 10,000 ft.