In September 2004, the BG-led consortium drilled well 16/29a-13, which identified a 900 foot column and confirmed the viability of the Maria discovery. Sidetrack drilling then confirmed an extension into the adjacent Maria Horst prospect. Recoverable reserves for Maria and Maria Horst are estimated to be in the region of 35 million barrels. First production is scheduled for late 2006 or early 2007, subject to relevant approvals. During testing, the well flowed at 6720 barrels of oil per day, subject to the constraints of the testing facilities.
Jon Wormley, BG Executive Vice President and Managing Director, North West Europe, said: "The Central North Sea is an area of strategic importance for BG Group, and the potential development of Maria via Armada makes it an important part of our UK growth strategy. It gives added momentum to our North Sea activities, which include the pursuit of similar opportunities in four new blocks awarded to BG in the 22nd UK Licensing Round."
Welcoming the announcement, Energy Minister Mike O'Brien MP said: "This is excellent news, which demonstrates that opportunities in the North Sea continue to be realised. Confirmation of this discovery is particularly welcome as it comes as a result of Government and industry working together through the fallow process to make sure acreage is not neglected. The exploration activity here also reinforces BG Group's continuing commitment to North Sea investment."
In the 22nd UK Licensing Round, BG Group was awarded four blocks, all of which are BG-operated. BG is partnered with Apache in Blocks 22/3b, 22/4b and 22/8b, and with DONG and P/F Atlantic Petroleum in the Part Block 204/22 (the Bedlington extension area).
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