Appraisal Drilling has Commenced on Block 24/12

Dolphin Drilling's semisubmersible, Byford Dolphin, has commenced drilling an appraisal well near the Sleipner area of the North Sea. The purpose of the well is to test the hydrocarbon potential in the B prospect in block 24/12. The well is being drilled in production license 204. The license, which consists of blocks 24/9 and 24/12, was awarded in the 15th licensing round in 1996. The blocks lie half-way between the Statoil-operated Sleipner fields and TotalFinaElf's Frigg field on the border with the UK continental shelf.

A well was previously drilled in the license, 24/12-3S. A small oil find was made there, but the proven reserves were not large enough to warrant a development.

The well currently being drilled, 24/12-4, will test Palaeolithic sandstone layers. It will be drilled to a total depth of around 7,545 feet and is expected to be finished in the middle of September.

Statoil is operator for the license with a 35 percent interest. The other partners are Petoro with a 30 percent interest, Amerada Hess with a 20 percent interest and Enterprise Oil with the remaining 15 percent.