Centrica comes up dry in North Sea

UK player Centrica has bitten dust at the Butch South West prospect in the Norwegian North Sea.

The explorer drilled the 8/10-6S probe to a total depth of 1945 metres but failed to find any hydrocarbons.

The well, spudded in early June with the jack-up Maersk Giant, drilled to the the Permian Zechstein salt formation, targeting the Upper Jurassic reservoir of the Ula formation.

"Whilst a good quality reservoir was confirmed with a 55-metre gross section, no hydrocarbons were encountered," drilling partner Faroe Petroleum said on Monday.

The well in production licence 405 in the central part of the North Sea was drilled in water depths of around 65 metres.

The Butch South West prospect lies close to existing infrastructure with the giant Ula field about seven kilometres to the north-west, Tambar roughly 10 kilometres to the south-west and the Gyda field about 20 kilometres to the south.

Licence partner Faroe Petroleum previously noted that the Butch South exploration well was in a separate segment from both the recently drilled Butch East well and the Butch Main discovery.

The Butch Main discovery was made in late 2011 and contains a light crude in the Upper Jurassic reservoir of the Ula formation.

However Centrica came up dry in the Butch East well earlier this year despite hitting good-quality reservoir in a targeted Upper Jurassic sandstone reservoir in the Ula formation.

Centrica is currently working on a development plan for the Butch Main discovery and Faroe noted that, if Butch South West was successful, the development had the potential to become a stand-alone design with its own dedicated facility, instead of a subsea tie-back to existing nearby infrastructure.

Centrica operates PL 405 with a 40% stake and is partnered by Faroe (15%), Suncor (30%) and Tullow Oil (15%).

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