The well which was spudded in October 2007, was drilled as an extended reach horizontal well and was successfully hydraulically fractured five times to improve well productivity. The well was stimulated using the boat and pumping equipment developed earlier for the Chiswick field and has been completed and tested.
Stabilized test rates for the Ensign well in excess of 40 MMscfd were achieved, which were at the top end of expectations, and the well will be suspended for use as a future producer. The development plan for the field will involve an unmanned platform tied-back to nearby infrastructure and will be installed prior to first gas, targeted for late 2009.
Ensign straddles Blocks 48/14a and 48/15a within the 'A' Fields area in the southern North Sea and is 100% owned and operated by Venture. The development has recoverable proven and probable ("2P") reserves of 96.6 Bcf (16.1 MMboe) with an additional 25.3 Bcf (4.2 MMboe) of possible reserves. Ensign was first discovered in 1986 by the 48/14-2 well and the gas-in-place volumes represent one of the largest proven undeveloped gas fields in the area.
"This is an excellent drilling result and at the top end of our expectations," Mike Wagstaff, Chief Executive said. "It will allow us to push ahead with development of the field and significantly derisks the project. Ensign is one of the largest undeveloped gas discoveries in the southern North Sea and is further testament to how a highly focused operator can unlock the substantial remaining value in challenging reservoirs. Furthermore, we will be developing Ensign against the backdrop of an increasingly favorable long-term market for gas in the UK as evidenced by the fact that over the last 12 months the wholesale price has doubled."
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