Amerada, Ranger to reevaluate 14-year-old Beechnut find in North Sea

Amerada Hess Ltd. and Ranger Oil UK Ltd. have agreed to a £21 million joint drilling program to evaluate oil and gas discovered 14 years ago in the Beechnut area of the UK North Sea. Backed by personnel seconded from Ranger, Amerada will head a campaign on UK North Sea Blocks 29/9a south and 29/9b that will involve drilling an appraisal well of Beechnut North and exploration of Beechnut South.


By the OGJ Online Staff

LONDON, July 9 -- Amerada Hess Ltd. and Ranger Oil UK Ltd. have agreed to a £21 million joint drilling program to evaluate oil and gas discovered 14 years ago in the Beechnut area of the UK sector of the North Sea.

Backed by personnel seconded from Ranger, Amerada will head an exploration and evaluation campaign on UK North Sea Blocks 29/9a south and 29/9b that will involve drilling an appraisal well of Beechnut North and exploring Beechnut South.

Amerada said the wells will be drilled starting in late August from a single location, with provision being made for a further sidetrack to appraise the second of these targets "if appropriate." A rig was being sought for the 120-day program.

Beechnut is in one of the so-called "cluster" areas that government-industry task force Pilot's undeveloped discoveries workgroup identified last July. As operator of Block 29/9b, Amerada began development discussions that led to the agreement to revisit the area. Amerada's reserves estimates for the Beechnut area were not disclosed.

Nick Fairbrother, managing director of Amerada Hess Ltd., said the Pilot workgroup was "now starting to pay real dividends."

He said, "The impetus and focus provided by Pilot have provided a solid way forward on Beechnut. A successful drilling program would not only be good news for Amerada Hess, Ranger, [and partners] Lundin Oil AB, and PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd., but for the UK oil and gas industry as a whole."

Among the development scenarios being studied in the expectation of a successful drilling program, said Amerada, is a tieback to the nearby Ranger-operated Kyle facilities on Block 29/2c, being produced via the Maersk Curlew FPSO.

More in Production Operations