Siccar Point Energy has delayed the drilling of an exploration well on one of the North Sea’s hottest prospects until next year.
The company had expected to drill Lyon – in the west of Shetland region – in 2018 using North Atlantic Drilling’s West Hercules rig.
West Hercules recently finished an appraisal well on Siccar Point’s Cambo field, which produced “encouraging” initial results.
The vessel was scheduled to move immediately onto Lyon, but Siccar Point has decided to defer.
Speaking at an industry event in Shetland, Siccar Point chief executive Jonathan Roger said he did not want the campaign to be impacted by poor winter weather in an area known for its harsh conditions.
Mr Roger said: “Given the challenges of winter drilling west of Shetland, it makes sense to defer the Lyon well until next year to minimise the likely cost.
“On the plus side we have had a very successful result on Cambo and look forward to progressing that into the development phase.”
Siccar Point bought 100% of the licence containing Lyon from Austrian firm OMV in January 2017.
It then sold 66.6% of the asset to Ineos in December, but retained the operatorship.
The prospect is thought to contain 1-3 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.
Siccar Point believes a number of smaller gas discoveries in the same area, including Tobermory, Bunnehaven and Cragganmore, could all be tied back to form a larger development cluster.
Kevin Swann, from Wood Mackenzie’s North Sea upstream team, said today that exploration success at Lyon could create a “new northern gas hub” capable of unlocking another 300 billion cubic feet of discovered gas that is currently stranded.