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    Cnooc Makes UK Discovery at Glengorm Prospect (Update)


Glengorm prospect is in the North Sea offshore UK, near infrastructure.

by: Shardul Sharma

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Cnooc Makes UK Discovery at Glengorm Prospect (Update)

(Updates with industry and regulator's comment at end)

Chinese state Cnooc January 29 announced a new gas and condensate discovery at the Glengorm prospect, in the North Sea offshore UK, near existing infrastructure operated by a partner.

The Glengorm discovery is in Licence P2215 with a water depth of about 86 metres. “The exploration well Glengorm was drilled to a total depth of 5,056 metres and encountered net gas and condensate pay zones with a total thickness of 37.6 metres,” Cnooc said.

“Glengorm discovery demonstrates the great exploration potential of Licence P2215. We are looking forward to further appraisal,” Xie Yuhong, executive vice president of the company said.

Cnooc Petroleum Europe, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cnooc, is the operator of the licence, holding 50% interest. French producer Total and Euroil, a wholly owned subsidiary of French-owned Edison, each hold a quarter.

Recoverable resources are estimated close to 250mn barrels of oil equivalent, Total said in a separate statement, adding that further drilling and testing will be carried out to appraise resources and the productivity of the reservoir. Its stake in Glengorm came with the purchase of Maersk Oil.

The find is close to existing infrastructure operated by Total and offering tie-back possibilities, such as the Elgin-Franklin platform and the Culzean project, scheduled to start production this year. It also presents some upside potential with several other prospects already identified on the same block, the French company said.

“Following the recent Glendronach discovery, West of Shetland in the UK, Glengorm is another great success for Total in the North Sea, with results at the top end of expectations and a high condensate yield in addition to the gas,” said Kevin McLachlan, senior vice president exploration at Total. "Our strong position in the region will enable us to leverage existing infrastructures nearby and optimise the development of this discovery. Glengorm is an achievement that demonstrates our capacity to create value in a mature environment thanks to our in-depth understanding of the basin.”

The find was welcomed by UK upstream regulator Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) and the upstream industry group Oil & Gas UK (OGUK). OGA CEO Andy Samuel said Glengorm was first mapped as a prospect around 20 years ago and "it is great to see Cnooc taking up the exploration opportunity and completing a difficult high-pressure, high-temperature exploration well. Initial results show that Glengorm could be one of the biggest finds in the UKCS in recent years, possibly the biggest since the Culzean gas field was discovered 11 years ago.

“This underlines the considerable potential of the UKCS. Our official estimate is that there still remains between 10 and 20bn barrels plus to be recovered, so there is every chance of yet more significant finds, provided industry can increase exploration drilling and capitalise on the real value to be had here in the UK,” he said.

And OGUK's market intelligence manager, Ross Dornan, said: “This is a major find and a great example of partner companies, Cnooc International, Total E&P and Edison working together to explore and unlock the potential of the UKCS. Glengorm was a challenging prospect to drill, however the combined determination and perseverance of the partners has paid off. The location of the discovery, in the Central North Sea, also provides a valuable opportunity to make use of the UKCS’ extensive infrastructure network.

"Coming so soon after the Glendronach discovery in September, Glengorm is a major milestone towards adding another generation of productive life to the UK North Sea and realising the ambition of Vision 2035.”