Noble rig spuds prospect offshore Guyana

Noble rig spuds exploration well offshore Guyana

Partners in the Corentyne block – Canada’s CGX Energy and Frontera Energy – have started drilling an exploration well offshore Guyana with one of the Noble-owned rigs.

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

Following positive results from the first well, Kawa-1, Frontera and CGX disclosed a plan to spend up to $130 million on their second exploration well on the Corentyne block, called Wei-1. The spudding of this well was originally expected to take place in October 2022.

To this end, the JV exercised its option to use the Maersk Discoverer (now called Noble Discoverer) semi-submersible rig for the drilling of this well. Initially, the rig secured a contract in April 2021 for the drilling of the Kawa-1 exploration well on the Corentyne block.

Frontera and CGX revised the spud window for the Wei-1 well after the Noble Discoverer rig run into delays on its assignment with Shell in Trinidad and Tobago due to “unforeseen challenges to the exploration activities.” In light of this, the start of drilling operations in Guyana was anticipated between December 2022 and late January 2023.

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In an update on Monday, 23 January 2023, CGX and Frontera reported that the drilling of the Wei-1 well – located on the Corentyne block, approximately 200 kilometres offshore from Georgetown, Guyana – was underway. These two players also announced that the government of Guyana had approved an appraisal plan for the northern section of the Corentyne block, which kicked off with the Wei-1 well.

Suresh Narine, Executive Co-Chairman of CGX’s Board of Directors, commented: “The Joint Venture is pleased to announce that it has spud the Wei-1 well offshore Guyana, and that the government of Guyana has approved the Joint Venture’s appraisal programme. Wei-1 will appraise both the Kawa-1 discovery as well as explore additional opportunities within the Corentyne block.

“The Wei-1 well is on-trend and positioned for success with both Kawa-1 and recent peer discoveries immediately adjacent to the northern section of the Corentyne block. The Joint Venture is grateful for the government of Guyana’s ongoing support as the Joint Venture worked towards spudding Wei-1 in-line with the previously agreed terms.”

Upon completion of Wei-1 drilling operations and detailed analysis of the results, the consideration of future wells may be on the agenda for the JV partners per the appraisal programme to evaluate possible development feasibility in the Kawa-1 discovery area and throughout the northern section of the Corentyne block. However, CGX and Frontera highlight that any future drilling is contingent on positive results at Wei-1, as the JV has no further drilling obligations beyond this well. 

Located approximately 14 kilometres northwest of the JV’s previous Kawa-1 light oil and condensate discovery, the Wei-1 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). This well is targetting Maastrichtian, Campanian and Santonian aged stacked sands within channel and fan complexes in the northern section of the Corentyne block. The drilling operations are expected to take approximately 4-5 months to reach total depth.

Orlando Cabrales, Chief Executive Officer of Frontera, remarked: “We are very excited about the potentially transformational opportunity that is now before us on the Corentyne block in one of the most exciting exploration areas in the world and we look forward to safely and successfully drilling the Wei-1 well and potentially extending the Joint Venture’s recent light oil and condensate discovery at the Kawa-1 well.”

The 2009-built Noble Discoverer, which is carrying out this assignment, 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.