Shell's new Pensacola exploration discovery in the UK southern North Sea could be one of the largest in this mature area in more than a decade, according to a joint venture partner.

The estimated ultimate recovery volume from the well is 302 billion cubic feet of gas, and importantly the well opens up a new “Zechstein play” in the basin, said joint venture partner Deltic Energy.

The discovery well also interesected light oil with a preliminary gravity of 34 to 36 degrees API that flow tested at a rate of 18 barrels per day, but the potential of this oil is yet to be determined.