Prince 'eyed' for West Alpha

Lined up: West Alpha for Prince

ExxonMobil is reported to have lined up semi-submersible rig West Alpha to explore near its Ringhorne East oilfield off Norway later this year after the unit has wrapped up a controversial probe in Russia’s Kara Sea.

The US supermajor has filed an application with the authorities to use the Seadrill-owned rig to drill the 25/8-19S probe at the Prince prospect, with a tentative spud date of 1 November, according to Norwegian publication Petro Media News.

ExxonMobil is targeting additional resources in four prospective intervals to the west of Ringhorne East, which straddles its operated production licences 027 and 169E and is located to the north-east of the Balder field in the central North Sea.

The field, which started producing in 2006, is currently in the tail-end production phase but is expected to produce until 2025 as new wells are drilled to boost recovery, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

Remaining oil reserves at the field were estimated at 25 million barrels at the end of last year, compared with original recoverable volumes of 87 million barrels, although it has an in-place estimate of 235 million barrels.

The well at Prince will be drilled in a water depth of around 128 metres to a total depth of 2777 metres, with drilling expected to take up to 60 days.

ExxonMobil operates the field with a 77.38% stake, with partners Statoil and Faroe Petroleum on 14.82% and 7.8%, respectively.

The US player is set to start drilling later this month its first exploration well in the Kara Sea under an exploration pact with Russian state-owned Rosneft amid controversy over Western sanctions imposed on Moscow and environmental fears due to the perceived risk of a potential oil spill in the Arctic offshore play.

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