Ithaca looks toward UK Athena development

A group led by Ithaca Energy plans to start oil production in late 2009 from Athena field in the UK North Sea Outer Moray Firth, where its third well tested 28° gravity oil in mid-July at a stable 2,330 b/d.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 21 -- A group led by Ithaca Energy Inc., Calgary, plans to start oil production in late 2009 from Athena field in the UK North Sea Outer Moray Firth, where its third well tested 28° gravity oil in mid-July at a stable 2,330 b/d.

The rate is about twice that achieved in the previous two appraisal wells.

The 14/18b-18 directional well went to a bottomhole location 1,500 ft north of the earlier No. 15 well and encountered the Upper Leek sandstone at 8,733 ft subsea, 68 ft high to the No. 15 well.

The No. 18 well cut 447 ft of gross oil-bearing sandstones and 129 ft of true vertical net pay. The test yielded no water or hydrogen sulfide.

Developing Athena using an FPSO offers a $200 million reduction in capital outlay advances production start-up by up to 1 year as compared to a subsea tieback to the Talisman Energy Inc.-operated Claymore facility that Ithaca Energy previously explored, the company said in May.

With the No. 18, 15, and 16 wells completed for future production, Ithaca Energy is seeking a rig for the remaining development drilling that will follow approval of its development plan, expected in early 2009. It has secured exclusive rights to the Uisge Gorm FPSO.

Ithaca Eneergy owns a 70% interest in the project. EWE AG has 20%, and Zeus Petroleum has 10%.

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