Cairn Postpones Spanish Point Drill Due to Rig Delays

Independent oil and gas firm Cairn Energy has postponed the drilling of the Spanish Point appraisal well, offshore Ireland, to 2015 due to rig refurbishment delays, its partner Providence Resources reported Wednesday.

Providence said that the well could not be drilled this year because extensive delays in the refurbishment of the Blackford Dolphin (DW semisub) rig mean that operations could not commence until October, which would have put Spanish Point drilling operations into the winter period. Consequently, Cairn has terminated its contract with Dolphin Drilling for the Blackford Dolphin rig and is now tendering for another rig to carry out planned well operations next year.

Meanwhile, Providence added that Cairn has also confirmed to it that – subject to regulatory approval – a large 3D seismic data acquisition program over various blocks in the FEL 1/14 license (Spanish Point South) will go ahead this summer.

Providence Chief Executive Tony O'Reilly commented in a company statement:

"The postponement of appraisal drilling at Spanish Point is regrettable and beyond the control of the partnership. As the rig refurbishment delays became apparent, the operator evaluated various options to re-schedule the Blackford Dolphin rig and/or to secure another drilling unit for 2014, but this proved unsuccessful.

"Our ability to commence drilling in the autumn was further constrained by the rig's operational capabilities at the Spanish Point location during winter and thus the decision was taken to terminate the contract and seek a new drilling unit for 2015. This procurement process has commenced and we will provide further updates as they are confirmed by the operator.

"Separately, we are pleased to confirm that, subject to regulatory approval, the planned 3D seismic surveying program over Spanish Point South is going ahead as originally scheduled and we plan to provide an update on the survey over the coming period."

Cairn holds a 38-percent stake in Spanish Point, while Providence retains a 32-percent interest.

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