Ithaca Energy Inc. announced initial peak gross oil production rates from the Athena field of 22,000 barrels of oil per day ("bopd") (4,950 bopd net to Ithaca) as metered into the BW Athena's storage tanks. Oil export operations have commenced.
The flow from each of the four oil production wells is being supported by electrical submersible pumps, the operating parameters for which are being monitored to stabilize long term production rates. Water injection will be used to support the reservoir pressure of the field and thereby maintain and sustain production rates.
An initial cargo has already been offloaded from the BW Athena to the shuttle tanker Betty Knutsen. This and future cargoes will be transferred to Ithaca's Nigg oil terminal from where Athena crude will be sold to the market under the Company's marketing contract with BP.
At current oil prices, the project is anticipated to achieve payback within twelve months.
John Woods, Chief Developments Officer, commented: "The successful start-up of all the Athena wells and completion of commissioning activities on the FPSO mark major milestones for both the Athena development and the continued growth of the Company. These achievements are testament to the expertise of our project team and contractors who have created an efficient and highly valuable development solution for the field. Completion of the Athena project again demonstrates the Company's ability to deliver major North Sea projects and we look forward to continuing to grow the Company with the ongoing Greater Stella Area development."
Joint Venture partners in the Athena field are: Ithaca, operator (22.5%), Dyas UK Limited (47.5%), EWE Energie AG (20%) and Zeus Petroleum Limited (10%).
The Company's petroleum and natural gas reserves are independently evaluated by Sproule in accordance with the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook ("COGEH") reserves definitions and evaluation practices and procedures as specified by National Instrument 51-101 ("NI 51-101"). Sproule's estimate of the initial gross production rate from the field in the Company's last reserves assessment dated December 31, 2011, was approximately 22,000 bopd.
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