North Sea-focused Ithaca Energy confirmed Monday that the Ensco 100 (328' ILC) heavy duty rig will not start drilling on the Stella field in the North Sea until near the end of the first quarter of next year due to delays in the drilling programs of previous users of the rig.
Ithaca's drilling program, which is now anticipated to begin in late 1Q 2013, will see four Stella wells drilled, with each well taking around 90 days to drill and complete. Further wells on Stella and Harrier, plus other potential targets, including Hurricane, will then be drilled once first hydrocarbons from Stella are seen.
Ithaca also announced its third quarter results Monday. The firm revealed that it produced 5,061 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) during the quarter compared to 3,602 boepd in 3Q 2011. Ithaca's 3Q pre-tax profit came in at $14.9 million (3Q 2011: $15.6 million).
New York-headquartered investment bank Jefferies said the 3Q 2012 results show a business that is on track to meet its forecast of 5,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day production estimate for the whole of 2012.
Jefferies added that it still expected first oil from the Greater Stella Area to arrive in 1H 2014, although there is an "increasing risk about this target given a later-than-expected start to drilling in 1Q 2013".
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