Good news for followers of the exploration campaign in the Falkland Islands as Premier Oil has struck oil with the Isobel Deep exploration well. The discovery lies in the North Falkland Basin, some 30 km from the company’s Sea Lion oilfield.
The Isobel Deep exploration well was drilled to a depth of 2,527 metres, short of planned TD, and encountered the top reservoir on prognosis. The bottom 24 metres of the well consisted of oil-bearing F3 sands but these were of higher than expected reservoir pressures, resulting in an influx into the well. The company undertook operations to remove the influx, recovering oil in the process which appears similar in nature to Sea Lion crude.
The well has now been suspended and the rig has been released to join Noble in the South Falkland Basin to drill the Humpback wildcat– it will return to the North Falkland Basin for further drilling in August. There is still much work to be done here; the well has penetrated around one third of the mapped sand thickness at the location, which means follow-on drilling could prove very interesting. This could be either a side-track from the existing well or a re-drill of the well near to the current location.
Andrew Lodge, Premier’s exploration director, hailed “an important play opening discovery in the previously unexplored southern area of Licence PL004”. “The well has successfully demonstrated a trapping mechanism and the presence of moveable oil in the Elaine/Isobel fan complex,” he said.
Partner Rockhopper Exploration, which made the Sea Lion discovery in 2010 and has a 24 per cent stake in Isobel Deep, said logging while drilling data collected over the first 12 metres of the reservoir and cuttings data to the base of the well comprising oil stained sandstones also confirm an oil discovery.
Rockhopper’s CEO Sam Moody was keen to claim the find for his team. “Having retained the sub-surface lead for North Falkland Basin exploration in the farm out to Premier in 2012, I am delighted to report that our exploration team now enjoys a success rate of 9 out of 11 wells in licences PL004 and PL0032,” he said.
“Isobel represents a new play and significantly de-risks the entire Isobel / Elaine fan complex confirming the presence of an oil prone hydrocarbon system with moveable oil in the Isobel Deep reservoir.”
Tim Bushell, CEO of Falklands Oil & Gas, which has a 40 per cent stake, said the presence of oil bearing sands is “highly encouraging”.