Two North Sea Well Disappointments for Cairn

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Independent oil and gas company Cairn Energy announced Tuesday that two North Sea wells it has interests in are being plugged and abandoned after failing to find hydrocarbons in commercial quantities.

Cairn reported that its partner Nexen is about to complete drilling operations on the wildcat exploration well 20/7-7 that was targeting the Bardolph prospect in the UK North Sea. After reaching a total depth of 10,504 feet the well, which was being drilled by the Transocean Prospect (mid-water semisub) rig, did not encounter commercial hydrocarbons.

As well as operator Nexen, which had a 51-percent interest, and Cairn (19%), other partners in the 20/7-7 well included Carrizo Oil & Gas (15%) and MPX North Sea (15%).

At Spaniards East, Premier Oil is about to complete drilling operations on well 15/21a-60 after it reached 10,694 feet without finding hydrocarbons. Premier, the operator, had a 28-percent while Cairn had a 21-percent stake. Other partners included Serica Energy (21%), Parkmead (12.6%), Faroe Petroleum (8.4%), Maersk Petroleum (5.7%) and Atlantic Petroleum (3.2%).

In a separate statement, Faroe Chief Executive Graham Stewart commented:

"Although the well was unsuccessful, the partnership has gained useful data from the well, which will further our regional knowledge. In the meantime, Faroe will be participating in a very active ongoing drilling program in 2013 and we also await the results from the BP operated North Uist exploration well, west of Shetland."

Premier Oil reported that the WilPhoenix (mid-water semisub) rig used on Spaniards East will now move to the Cyclone prospect in UK block 28/7.

Cairn pointed out that it has participated in nine wells in the UK and Norwegian North Sea, so far, during 2012. Out of these it has made two discoveries, while five wells have been plugged and abandoned and the remaining two suspended.


A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at

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