Centrica Resources (Norge) AS (Centrica) is the operator of production licence 405 in block 8/10 in the North Sea, close to the Ula field and around 263 km southwest of Stavanger.
Centrica has received consent from the PSA to drill a shallow borehole (pilot hole) down to a depth of 423 m below the seabed. The purpose of drilling is to establish that there is no shallow gas in an area, to allow further activity in the prospect. Drilling is estimated to last for 12 days.
The well will be located at:
57° 04' 23.141" N
03° 03' 55.136" E
The well is to be drilled by the Island Constructor mobile drilling facility. The facility was built at the Ulstein Verft shipyard in 2008 and is owned by Island Offshore Management AS. Island Constructor was issued with an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) by the PSA in September 2010.
Island Constructor was originally a vessel designed for light well intervention, but has been modified to enable it to drill shallow boreholes using coiled tubing. It is the first time this technique will be used to drill a well from a facility of this type.
"Coiled tubing drilling from a facility like this is significantly cheaper than using a traditional drilling installation, but it's fully warranted", says PSA head of section Monica Ovesen.
"To see coiled tubing drilling being trialled from this type of facility will be interesting. The experience and knowledge gained from this drilling may prove useful when it comes to employing cost-effective drilling methods when conditions permit."
"It is a common practice to investigate the risk of shallow gas occurrences using a pilot hole before starting exploration drilling and developing a location", explains Ovesen.
Adapted from a press release by Louise Mulhall