UK: Serica Energy Hits Snag at Columbus Offshore Well. Needs to Re-Drill It


Serica Energy, a UK-based oil and gas company focusing on the North Sea, has hit a snag with its Columbus development well and will have to re-drill it, which will cost an extra £3 million (USD 4.23 million).

The company spudded the well in mid-March, using the Maersk Resilient jack-up drilling rig. The plan was to drill the offshore well to a total depth of 17,600ft and including a 5,600ft horizontal section. The drilling operation was expected to take around 70 days. 

Serica on Tuesday said that the well, as planned, had been drilled to a total measured depth of 17,600ft, and that a 5,900ft horizontal section had been drilled through the reservoir formations of the upper Forties, encountering a sequence of sands and shales, in line with pre-drill expectations.

However, while the drilling went as expected, the company encountered problems with the installation of sand screens.

It said: "The well requires sand screens to be installed to prevent fine particles from being produced; difficulties were encountered while running the screens and it was ultimately not possible to install them. As a result, the reservoir section of the well will be side-tracked and re-drilled, using data collected during initial drilling to optimize its trajectory and avoid the difficulties encountered running the screens in the original well."

According to Serica, the additional operations are expected to take around 3-4 weeks at a net cost to Serica of around £3 million (USD 4.23 million). 

The Columbus development area is located 35km northeast of Shell's Shearwater production platform and will be drained by a single producing well tied into the existing Arran to Shearwater pipeline.

When the production reaches the Shearwater platform, the gas and liquids will be separated, and the gas exported via the SEGAL line to St Fergus and the liquids through the Forties Pipeline System to Cruden Bay.The Columbus will be developed via Shell's Shearwater Platform - Image: Stuart Conway/Shell

Serica said that the additional drilling required would have no impact on the production start-up schedule, which is still set for Q4 2021.

Mitch Flegg, Chief Executive of Serica Energy, said: "Whilst frustrating, the additional operations on Columbus are not expected to affect the timing of the first production and the economic returns of the project remain very attractive for the Company."

The average gross production from Columbus is forecast to be around 7,000 boe/d, of which over 70% is gas. Serica is Operator and has a 50% interest in Columbus. Its partners are Waldorf Production UK Ltd (25%) and Tailwind Mistral Ltd. (25%).

Also, at the Rhum field in the North Sea, Serica said on Tuesday its R3 well had been cleared of all equipment installed when it was originally completed in 2005. 

"Reservoir access has been regained thus allowing new completion equipment to be run in preparation for production. The new completion is currently being installed prior to performing a flow test on the well, which is expected to be carried out in June. A diving support vessel ("DSV") has been contracted to install the subsea control equipment required so the well can start producing in Q3 2021," Serica said.
Credit: Serica

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