UK-based independent oil and gas company i3 Energy has executed a contract with Norwegian company Dolphin Drilling to use the Borgland Dolphin drilling rig for its operations in the North Sea.

The Borgland Dolphin will be mobilised from its current mooring location in Norway to the Liberator field and Serenity prospect for a 94-day programme, due to run from 15 July to 15 August 2019.

The Liberator field is located in block 13/23d of production licence P1987 roughly 120km offshore Aberdeen. The field extends north-west into block 13/23c, which includes the Serenity prospect in production licence P2358. Both areas are 100% owned and operated by i3 Energy.

The company initially plans to drill the A3 appraisal well in the 13/23c block, followed by the Liberator Phase I L2 pilot well and the S1 appraisal well in the Serenity prospect.

This drilling campaign is intended to de-risk and confirm hydrocarbon volumes in the Liberator and Serenity structures, with the company estimating reserves of 314 million barrels (MMbbl) and 197 MMbbl of stock tank oil initially in place (STOIIP) respectively.

The drilling is also intended to determine the placement of a second Phase I production well in the Liberator field, which is expected to start production alongside the L2 production well in 2020. The combined production rates of these wells are expected to be approximately 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

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i3 Energy expects the summer 2019 drilling programme to unlock a proposed $100m senior credit facility, which would be used to deliver the Phase I development at the Liberator field in 2020.

The facility would also be used to provide the company with data for the area, which could facilitate the development of additional developments in the Liberator and Serenity areas. If these developments are successful, i3 Energy believes its current licences could produce more than 200 MMbbl.

A site survey for the pipeline from the Liberator area has been completed by Gardine’s Ocean Observer vessel, allowing i3 Energy to proceed with permitting for the 2019 drilling programme.

i3 Energy CEO Majid Shafiq said: “The i3 team is excited to be working with Dolphin Drilling and to be using the Borgland Dolphin rig to conduct what we expect to be a transformational drilling campaign this summer.

“We continue to progress all key deliverables to bring Liberator to first oil and expect to provide updates on funding and finalisation of offtake terms in due course.”