IOG Hits Snag During Southwark Drilling

IOG Hits Snag During Southwark Drilling
IOG has experienced a problem during drilling operations at the Southwark field over issues regarding seabed conditions.

UK oil and gas firm IOG has experienced a problem during drilling operations at the Southwark field in the UK North Sea over issues regarding seabed conditions.

IOG said that drilling operations continued at Southwark since the first development well was spudded on December 30, 2021. However, the Noble Hans Deul rig has experienced an increasing challenge with seabed conditions that, if not remediated, would compromise rig stability.

According to the company, technical personnel has explored potential options to manage these challenges, and the rig owner concluded that, as a prudent precautionary measure, temporary re-location of the rig will be required to facilitate seabed remediation and enable the safe continuation of Southwark drilling operations. These operations are now underway.

IOG added that the temporary relocation of the rig minimizes the safety and integrity risks to personnel and assets. The rig is expected to remain offshore with non-essential crew and equipment demobilized while the issue is rectified.

“This is a frustrating but absolutely necessary step to ensure we can drill and complete the Southwark production wells in a fully safe manner, which is always our foremost priority,” Andrew Hockey, CEO of IOG, said.

“Our team is working around the clock with our drilling contractors Noble Corporation and Petrofac to minimize the interruption and resume the Southwark drilling program at the earliest opportunity,” he added.

This is the second issue IOG has faced when Southwark is concerned. Namely, the first problem occurred on one of the Noble Hans Deul’s legs. The problem was found in October 2021 after the rig arrived at Southwark following the Blythe production well completion. This resulted in an operation halt and the rig was then taken to a port for repairs. The rig came back to the field two months later and spudded the well.

As for the Southwark field, it is part of IOG’s Saturn Banks Project – Phase 1 that also consists of the Blythe and Elgood fields. The project was sanctioned in late 2019. It is operated by IOG with a 50 percent interest while CalEnergy holds the remaining 50 percent.


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