Premier ramping up Solan production. First oil from Catcher still on track

Independent oil and gas company Premier Oil is ramping up oil production at its Solan field, in the UK North Sea, to 14 kbopd from the first production well, currently at 11 kbopd. 

First oil from the Solan field was achieved on April 12. Premier subsequently carried out a planned production shut down focused on the final commissioning of the electrical systems, the control and shut down systems and the water injection plant, taking advantage of the availability of the flotel, the company explained on Tuesday. The flotel has since departed the field and production from the Solan field restarted on June 22.

The field, which is currently producing at 11 kbopd, is ramping up to 14 kbopd from the first production well with water injection providing reservoir support. The drilling activities on the second production well (P2Y) have been completed. A DSV is scheduled to tie P2Y into production later this month after which production from the field will build up to an anticipated plateau rate of 20-25 kboepd, Premier said.

The company’s production averaged 61.0 kboepd for the first six months of the year with a record rate of over 80 kboepd achieved post period end. The newly acquired E.ON assets have continued to perform well and the summer maintenance program has been largely completed. With Solan ramping up, Premier continues to expect full year production to be at or above the upper end of its guidance of 65-70 kboepd.


Catcher project on track


The company also said on Tuesday that its Catcher project in the UK North remains scheduled to deliver first oil in the second half of 2017. Further cost savings have been secured against the project estimates, with the release of contingencies as work scopes are finished and drilling activities are completed below budget, said the company.

Premier now forecasts capex to first oil of $1.3 billion and total project capex of $1.8 billion, a c. 20 per cent reduction on the original sanctioned estimates. Further reductions in capex in dollar terms are anticipated if the weak sterling dollar exchange rate persists with c. 60 per cent of the project’s remaining capex denominated in sterling.

The subsea installation campaign continues apace and remains on schedule for completion by 4Q 2016: the flowline bundles, towhead and midwater arches have all been installed while installation of the buoy and mooring system is underway. Risers and umbilicals will be installed this year. Five wells have now been drilled, including the first Burgman production well, with all meeting or exceeding pre-drill expectations.

Well sequencing has also been modified to avoid more costly winter rig moves and work continues to evaluate the potential to reduce overall well count without impacting production. The FPSO hull has now been delivered to the Keppel yard in Singapore while fabrication of the topsides modules is progressing well. The sail-away date of the FPSO from Singapore for a 2017 field start up remains on track.

Furthermore, Premier said it plans to spud the Bagpuss heavy oil exploration prospect in the Moray Firth in the UK North Sea in July. The well will be drilled using the Ocean Valiant rig, which is currently preparing to move off location at the Solan field following completion of drilling activities. Premier expects the results of the Bagpuss well in early August.