The 2010-12 drilling campaign— Licensing and exploration activity after the first drilling campaign — The 1998 drilling campaign - Initial Production Licenses in the North Falkland Basin - Academic drilling

The 2010-12 drilling campaign

Two partially overlapping and continuous drilling campaigns were mounted around the Falklands between February 2010 and January 2013. Sixteen wells (plus two sidetracks to core) were drilled in the North Falkland Basin plus one in the Falkland Plateau Basin using the Ocean Guardian, and a further four wells were drilled in the Southern Basins – two in the Falkland Plateau Basin and two in the South Falkland Basin – using the Leiv Eriksson. Falkland Islands onshore facilities and local businesses were more than adequate to cope with the logistics of running this multi-well, continuous operation.

Well Number

Operator

Licence Number and Basin

Spud date

Terminal depth (m)

Informal prospect/well name

Result

Comments

14/19-1

Desire

PL003 - NFB

22-02-2010

3667

Liz

Gas condensate and dry gas discovery

No “Discovery Area” declared to FIG because licence held under 1995 Regulations that do not require declaration of a “Discovery Area”

14/10-2

Rockhopper

PL032 - NFB

15-04-2010

2744

Sea Lion

Oil discovery

Subsequently flow tested 28°API waxy oil at a sustained rate of >2000 BOPD and a maximum rate of 2304 BOPD. “Discovery Area” declared in December 2010.

61/05-1

BHP Billiton

PL015 - FPB

31-05-2010

2070

Toroa

Dry hole

26/06-1

Rockhopper

PL024 - NFB

23-07-2010

2240

Ernest

Dry hole

14/15-1

Desire

PL004 - NFB

27-09-2010

2877

Rachel

Dry hole

14/15-1Z

Desire

PL004 - NFB

A/A

3418

Rachel sidetrack

Oil shows

Geological sidetrack to Rachel well, drilled to investigate significant seismic amplitude anomalies down-dip of 14/05-1. The well was not logged due to well control problems.

14/15-2

Desire

PL004 - NFB

12-11-2010

3052

Rachel North

Oil shows

25/05-1

Desire

PL006 - NFB

18-12-2010

1697

Dawn/Jacinta

Gas shows

14/10-3

Rockhopper

PL032 - NFB

13-01-2011

2830

Sea Lion North

Oil shows

Appraisal of Sea Lion

14/10-4

Rockhopper

PL032 - NFB

18-02-2011

2800

Sea Lion

Oil well

Appraisal of Sea Lion

14/15-3

Desire

PL004 - NFB

28-03-2011

2620

Ninky

Oil shows

14/10-5

Rockhopper

PL032 - NFB

01-05-2011

2726

Sea Lion

Oil well

Appraisal of Sea Lion. Subsequently flow tested 28°API waxy oil at a stabilised rate of 5508 BOPD and a maximum rate of 9036 BOPD with ESP and VIT.

14/10-6

Rockhopper

PL032 - NFB

15-07-2011

2706

Sea Lion

Oil well

Appraisal of Sea Lion

14/10-7

Rockhopper

PL032 - NFB

22-08-2011

2696

Sea Lion

Oil well

Appraisal of Sea Lion

14/10-8

Rockhopper

PL032 - NFB

24-09-2011

2635

Sea Lion

Dry hole

Appraisal of Sea Lion

14/10-9 and 9Z

Rockhopper

PL032 - NFB

25-10-2011

2620

Sea Lion and Casper

Oil well

Appraisal of Sea Lion plus Casper discovery well. The 14/10-9Z well was a sidetrack to core

14/15-4A and 4Z

Rockhopper

PL032 - NFB

28-11-2011

2575

Sea Lion and Casper and Beverley

Oil and gas well

Appraisal of Sea Lion plus Casper South (gas and oil) and Beverley (gas) discovery well. The 14/15-4Z well was a sidetrack to core

Wells drilled during the Ocean Guardian campaign

Well Number

Operator

Licence Number and Basin

Spud date

Terminal depth (m)

Informal prospect/well name

Result

Comments

61/17-1

Borders and Southern

PL018 - SFB

31-01-2012

4876

Darwin East

Gas condensate discovery

“Discovery Area” declared in November 2012.

61/25-1

Borders and Southern

PL018 - SFB

10-05-2012

3060

Stebbing

Gas shows

Well did not reach target horizons

42/07-1

FOGL

PL031 - FPB

03-08-2012

4043

Loligo A

Gas shows

Classified as a gas discovery by FOG, but no “Discovery Area” declared.

31/12-1

FOGL

PL027 - FPB

25-09-2012

5555

Scotia

Gas shows

Subsequently reported as a tight gas discovery by FOGL, but no “Discovery Area” declared.

Wells drilled during the Leiv Eriksson campaign

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A number of discoveries were made as a result of the drilling campaigns since 2010. The Sea Lion oilfield and its associated nearby satellite fields Casper (gas and oil), Casper South (gas and oil) and Beverley (gas) were discovered on the eastern flank of the North Falkland Basin, while the Liz field (wet gas/condensate and dry gas at a deeper level) was discovered on the western flank of the North Falkland Basin. The Darwin gas condensate field was discovered in the tilted fault blocks below the foreland basin cover developed in front of the thrust belt in the South Falkland Basin. Several other wells encountered notable oil and/or gas shows; for example, the Loligo well in the Falkland Plateau Basin, although not categorised by FIG as a discovery well, has been shown by FOGL to have potentially large amounts of gas in place, but in poor quality reservoirs that did not flow gas to surface.

Development planning is well underway for the northernmost part of the Sea Lion field, which has a medium gravity crude oil ranging from 26.4° to 29.2° API. A well test in the vertical hole 14/10-5 using an Electric Submerged Pump (ESP) system and Vacuum Insulated Tubing (VIT) resulted in a stabilised flow rate of 5508 barrels per day, and a maximum flow rate of 9036 barrels per day from the upper Sea Lion sandstones. It is anticipated that higher flow rates will be achieved by horizontal drilling of the reservoir section during development. The southern parts of the Sea Lion field, along with the associated satellite discoveries of Casper, Casper South and Beverley will be developed as a second phase of the Sea Lion field, in conjunction with any further nearby discoveries subsequently made in that part of the basin.

No appraisal drilling and consequently no development planning has yet been undertaken for the Liz gas or gas condensate discoveries in the North Falkland Basin. Liquids volumes in the condensate-bearing section of the filed may range from 10 million barrels in the most likely case to 77 million barrels in the best case according to Desire PLC.

No appraisal drilling has been undertaken for the Darwin gas condensate discovery in the South Falkland Basin, although initial engineering and commercial scoping studies have been conducted by Borders and Southern Petroleum, who aim to demonstrate that the 200 million barrel discovery is commercially viable by proving the resource estimates through appraisal drilling and well testing. The Darwin well 67/17-1 encountered a 84.5m thick sandstone reservoir interval with a net pay zone of 67.8m. Average and maximum porosities encountered were 22% and 30% respectively.

Licensing and exploration activity after the first drilling campaign:

2013 - The Government proactively extended Phase 1 terms of "Open Door" licences, principally to accommodate drilling in Phase 1. Phase 2 was also extended in order to facilitate longer-term planning.

2013 – Noble assumed operatorship of FOGL’s northern set of licences in the Falkland Plateau Basin.

2012 – Edison and Nobel farmed into the FOGL acreage in the Falkland Platea Basin.

2012 – Premier farmed into the Rockhopper acreage in the North Falkland Basin and assumed operatorship of the acreage.

2011 – a new set of 3D surveys were completed over large parts of the North Falkland Basin by Argos, Desire and Rockhopper.

2009 – Rockhopper reclassified the 14/05-1A Shell well as a gas discovery on the basis of their re-analysis of the gas shows recorded in the lower part of the well, in a feature they term Johnson.

2008 – a new 3D survey was completed in the South Falkland Basin by Borders and Southern Petroleum.

2008 - a new licence covering 2.25 blocks in the southern part of the North Falkland Basin awarded to Desire Petroleum in association with Arcadia Petroleum.

2007 – a new 3D survey was completed in the North Falkland Basin by Rockhopper.

2007 – a new CSEM survey was acquired by FOGL in the Falkland Plateau Basin.

2007 - FOGL were required by Government to relinquish PL030, followed by, in December 2007, 25% of the remainder of their 2004 licences. BHP Billiton farmed into all the FOGL acreage.

2006 - FOGL relinquished 50% of their licence holding in their 2002 licences held in conjuction with Hardman Resources. This relinquishment was required by the Falkland Islands Government in exchange for changes to the agreed work programme.

2006 – a new CSEM survey was acquired by Rockhopper over parts of the North Falkland Basin.

2005 - open door licensing suspended.

2005 - FOGL/Hardman relinquished a further 18 blocks as per their licence agreement.

2005 - two new licences covering 6 blocks in the northern part of the North Falkland Basin awarded to Rockhopper Exploration. These 6 blocks were previously licensed to Shell and Agip.

2004 – five licences awarded covering 80 blocks over the southern area to Borders and Southern Petroleum Ltd.

2004 – two licences covering 16 blocks in the southernmost part of the North Falkland Basin awarded to Rockhopper Exploration.

2004 – a new 3D survey was completed in the North Falkland Basin by Desire.

2004 - A further seven licences, covering 195 blocks over 7 Quadrants in the Falkland Plateau Basin were awarded to Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd in December 2004. Unlike the other acreage held in the southern basins by FOGL, Hardman Resources do not partner them in these new licences.

2003 – two licences and 37 blocks (90 blocks in total), relinquished by the Falklands Hydrocarbon Consortium (Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd and Hardman Resources) in the southern area as per licence conditions.

2001 – ten Production Licences awarded covering 232 blocks over the southern area to the Falklands Hydrocarbon Consortium (Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd and Hardman Resources), with Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd (FOGL) as operator.

2000 – FIG initiated a series of “Open Door” licence awards to facilitate further exploration.

1999 onwards – several phases of relinquishment and operator changes to original licence areas in North Falkland Basin following the 1998 oil price crash.

The 1998 drilling campaign

Six wells were drilled in the North Falkland Basin in 1998. All six wells were drilled back to back using the Borgny Dolphin semi-sub exploration rig.

Well Number

Operator

Licence Number and Basin

Spud date

Terminal depth (m)

Informal prospect/well name

Result

Comments

14/09-1

Hess

PL001

27-04-1998

2615

Little Blue

Oil shows

14/13-1

Lasmo

PL003

06-06-1998

1550

Minke

Dry hole

Well did not reach target depth due to well control problems

14/05-1A

Shell

PL002

04-07-1998

4525

Sebald

Oil and gas shows

Rockhopper subsequently reclassified this well as a gas discovery, but it remains a well with gas and oil shows in FIG’s inventory.

14/24-1

Lundin

PL005

16-09-1998

2938

Braela

Oil shows

14/09-2

Hess

PL001

13-10-1998

2371

Galapagos

Oil shows

14/10-1

Shell

PL002

01-11-1998

3005

Fitzroy

Oil shows

Wells drilled during the Borgny Dolphin campaign

Figure 1 shows the distribution of the original 6 wells in the basin.

Initial Production Licences in the North Falkland Basin

1996 - seven Production Licences were awarded (to 14 companies) in the North Falkland Basin as a result of a competitive bidding round. The licences covered 48 blocks (some 12,800 square kilometres).

Figure 2 shows the distribution of the original Production Licences in the area, all confined to the North Falkland Basin. Current licences are much more extensive.

Academic drilling

1970s - a range of mostly academic studies were undertaken, culminating in drilling of the three DPSP boreholes (Figure 3) on the Maurice Ewing Bank, proving the existence of potential oil source rocks in the area.

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Historical Activity Images

 

Fig.9: Location of 1998 wellsFig.1: Location of 1998 wells

Fig.7: Original production licenesFig.2: Original production licenses

dpsp core logsFigure 3: DPSP core logs