North Sea's Contender Well Spuds

Anglo-Norwegian oil and gas junior Bridge Energy announced Friday that its partner TAQA, the Abu Dhabi national oil company, has begun drilling operations for the Contender exploration well on UK license P201, block 211/22a.

The well will target the Jurassic Brent sequence at a projected measured depth of 16,900 feet and is being drilled from the TAQA Bratani North Cormorant platform.

In its announcement, Bridge noted that, subject to the farm-out agreement executed on August 24, 2011, TAQA earned a 60-percent interest in, as well as operatorship of, the block by committing to 100-percent of its drilling costs. In the event of success, completion costs will be incurred initially by TAQA and subsequently recovered from production revenue.

"The Contender well is second in a program of four wells which Bridge expects to drill before the end of the current year. Taken together, the targets have the potential to add significant resources to Bridge," Bridge CEO Tom Reynolds commented in a statement.

Bridge holds just 4-percent interest in the well, while other partners include Dana Petroleum (20 percent), Antrim Energy (8.4 percent) and First Oil Expro (7.6 percent).

Bridge has interests in dozens of licenses in the UK and Norwegian zones of the North Sea and has itself drilled more than a dozen exploration and appraisal wells in the region.

The firm developed the Victoria I gas field – located in license P033, block 49.17 in the southern North Sea – that has been on production since 2008 and currently produces around 1,250 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The phase 2 part of Victoria's development is planned to produce first gas sometime later this year or in early 2013 subject to rig availability.

In a separate statement released late Thursday, Canada-based Antrim Energy highlighted that if the Contender drilling is successful TAQA will also earn a 35-percent interest in the adjacent Kerloch area (block 211/22a), where the discovery well 211/22a-10 was drilled by Antrim and its partners in 2007. In that eventuality, Antrim's stake in Kerloch will fall to 13.65 percent.



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