Junior producer and explorer Serica Energy reported Wednesday that it has issued tender documents for the development of the North Sea's Columbus field, where it is the operator.
Serica said that its field development plan for Columbus provides for the supply of 51.3 million cubic feet of gas per day at its peak, with 3,600 barrels per day of condensate and natural gas liquids (NGLs). In total, the firm estimates that proven and probable reserves of 78 billion cubic feet of gas and 4.8 million barrels of condensate/NGLs can be recovered from the field.
Serica said that it is taking a "significant step" with the development and that tender documents are now being issued to prequalified contractors for the fabrication, installation and hook-up of subsea facilities and for the provision of associated subsea equipment and systems. Field development is scheduled to begin in the second half of this year, with first production targeted for summer 2015.
The field will be developed in parallel with the construction of a bridge-linked platform (BLP) that will be connected to the nearby producing Lomond field via a 5-mile pipeline.
Serica Chairman Tony Craven Walker commented in a company statement:
"The Columbus field is a valuable asset and core to our North Sea interests. Whilst we await certain consents I am very pleased that Serica, and its partners in the field, are able to announce this important step towards field development today. The project will bring much needed gas to the UK but will also provide Serica with a valuable cash flow which will enable it to build on other projects with significant future growth potential."
Oil sector analysts at London-based Northland Capital Partners commented:
"This is a very encouraging announcement… With the tendering process now underway for the Columbus subsea development, Serica can advance its financing options. The company has an existing underused debt facility of $50 million but may look to secure alternative funding. It is likely to require around GBP 50 million ($78 million), although we would expect an update following the tender process."
Serica holds a 32.2-percent interest in the Columbus field.
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