BP and Hurricane Energy confirm new N. Sea oil exploration drilling as crude markets eye most important OPEC summit since 1973

Locations of Jock Scott and Craster oil fields
Locations of Jock Scott and Craster oil fields, off Shetland isles, top centre

BP has acquired interests in two North Sea exploration prospects – Jock Scott and Craster –  in what it described as a ‘further demonstration its commitment’ to the ageing basin. 

BP has acquired a 25% interest in the Statoil-operated licences located east of Shetland, P2275 and P2097, which includes the Jock Scott prospect, and a 40% interest in the nearby P2163 and P2147 licenses.

Statoil will remain the operator for all of these exploration licences.

Statoil and BP are planning to drill an exploration well on Jock Scott in Summer 2017.

In the west of Shetland, BP has acquired a 40% interest in the north and a 30% interest in the south of the Nexen-operated licence P2062, which includes the Craster prospect. Nexen will remain the operator of the licence.

BP and Nexen are also planning to drill an exploration well on Craster in mid-2017.

Mark Thomas, BP North Sea Regional President, commented: “Working together with companies such as Statoil and Nexen to access the North Sea’s remaining resource is an important part of our strategy to remain a material North Sea producer, investor and employer for decades to come.”

Over the next 18 months, BP plans to participate in up to five exploration wells in addition to drilling approximately 50 N. Sea development wells between now and 2020. 

Meanwhile, in another much-needed boost to well drilling and exploration, Hurricane Energy – the oil and gas company which focuses on naturally-fractured reservoirs, has announced its intention to drill its new-found Halifax field east of Shetland.

Hurricane has exercised its option over the Transocean Spitsbergen drilling rig and will drill Halifax after completion of the Lincoln well.

Hurricane Energy has also contracted with Bluewater Energy Services for the use of the Aoka Mizu floating production, storage and offloading vessel on its Lancaster field, West of Shetland, for up to 10 years – another clear sign of forthcoming oil production.

These announcements come on the eve of what crude oil market analysts are describing as the ‘most important’ OPEC summit in more than 40 years this week (30 Nov) in Vienna.

Spencer Welch, Director at IHS Energy and OPEC expert, said: OPEC is under intense pressure to deliver on their previous promise to cut production by around 1 million barrels-day to 32.5-33.0 million b/d.  

This is potentially the most important OPEC meeting since 1973, when they decided on an oil embargo on supply to the West.

“However, a deal will be extremely challenging to deliver given political differences between members – particularly Saudi Arabia and Iran  – while several OPEC nations actively trying to increase production, including Iran, Iraq, Nigeria and Libya.

“An agreement of some sort is more likely than not to emerge this week, as there are intense financial, political and credibility pressures on OPEC to strike a deal – even if it is flawed.”

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