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Lloyds List: Talisman plans output boost with takeover of North Sea platforms

By: Auk and Fulmar assets sold by Shell and ExxonMobil as being no longer part of their core activities, writes Martyn Wingrove, Lloyds List: Published: Oct 10, 2006

TALISMAN Energy is expecting to increase reserves and oil production from the Auk and Fulmar fields after acquiring the assets from Shell and ExxonMobil.

The Canadian group hopes to start operating the two mature production platforms before the end of this year after signing a sales agreement with subsidiaries Shell UK and Esso Exploration and Production.

Auk’s platform, in block 30’16, is more than 30 years old, having come on line in December, 1975.

Fulmar, in blocks 30’11 and 30’16, started up in February, 1982. Both are close to Talisman’s operated Clyde platform, which is almost 20 years old.

Talisman is looking to upgrade both platforms and drill new wells to produce more reserves. It also wants to improve operating efficiencies to extend field life.

‘This is a good business opportunity for Talisman and is a continuation of our successful development strategy in the North Sea,’ said Talisman’s president and chief executive Jim Buckee.

‘Production from Auk and Fulmar is currently 8,000 barrels of oil a day and with redevelopment there is significant upside.’

Talisman has plans to improve the ultimate recovery of reserves from these reserves and its own Clyde and Orion fields in this part of the central North Sea.

‘We believe there is an opportunity to redevelop Auk, which has 675m barrels of remaining oil in place,’ said Dr Buckee.

‘Successful application of horizontal wells in Auk has already been demonstrated and we intend to build on that experience.’

He hopes drilling horizontal wells into the extremes of the large field will increase reserves and production volumes.

Before the sale Shell had plans to develop the outer areas of Auk, but these were dropped three years ago.

There seems to be less upside in reserves and production at Fulmar, but its position close to undeveloped fields could lead to third party business.

‘Fulmar is a vital production hub in this area, providing an export route for Auk, Clyde and Orion as well as Shell-operated Gannet fields,’ said Dr Buckee.

‘We expect combined operations in the area will yield a number of operated efficiencies and will help us extend field life and enhance the ultimate recovery from all these assets.’

Shell and ExxonMobil sold these assets as they were no longer part of their core activities in the North Sea.

They agreed to market these and the Dunlin platform in April last year. Dulin remains part of their portfolio at present.

Shell expects it will redeploy staff on the Auk and Fulmat platforms to other projects and contractors working on these assets are likely to be re-employed by Talisman.

– US independents Apache and Endeavour International have agreed to drill two exploration wells together in the North Sea.

Endeavour has gained a 10% stake in Apache’s Bacchus field where an appraisal well is now under way in block 22’6a.

In the other deal Apache has taken a spare slot in Endeavour’s rig programme, using the GlobalSantaFe rig 140, to drill on the Howgate prospect in block 9’4a next year. This is north of BP’s Bruce platform.

Endeavour is set to drill an exploration well on the Columbus prospect in block 23’16 and Apache is likely to finish the Bacchus well before the end of this month.

The Petrolia semi-submersible rig is set to drill a well and several sidetracks on the Maureen field for Apache after the Bacchus well, then it will probe a potentially large prospect that sits over Outer Moray Firth blocks 18’5 and 19’1.

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