UK-based development and production company Independent Oil and Gas (IOG) has started drilling on the Harvey appraisal well in the North Sea.

The Harvey appraisal well was spudded by the Maersk Resilient rig on 6 August 2019. IOG expects to complete the well in approximately two months, with Halliburton Manufacturing contracted to provide offshore drilling services for the well.

The primary objective of the appraisal well is to confirm gas volumes, with a secondary objective to demonstrate reservoir deliverability. IOG estimates prospective resources of around 85 billion cubic feet (BCF), 129BCF or 199BCF in the low, best and high cases respectively, with a 63% geological chance of success.

Harvey is located close to the Thames Pipeline export route, within IOG’s asset portfolio in the UK Southern North Sea blocks 48/23c, 48/24a and 48/24b. If the well is successfully appraised, the additional synergies and scale of a development at Harvey could substantially enhance the overall value and returns of the company’s North Sea portfolio.

IOG CEO Andrew Hockey said: “Spudding the Harvey appraisal well is an exciting development for IOG and potentially a major catalyst for the business. Our objective is to prove up a substantial, high-quality reservoir in the heart of our core asset base which would create significant shareholder value over and above our recently announced farm-out.

“Success at Harvey could trigger a further significant near-term cash payment plus valuable life-of-field royalties should our designated partner exercise its right to farm in. We are pleased with our choice of rig and contractors and look forward to drilling the well safely and successfully.”

IOG received funding for the Harvey appraisal well in August 2018 through a non-convertible £15m loan facility with London Oil and Gas. The company secured a two-year extension for the well from the Oil and Gas Authority in December 2017, with plans at the time to begin drilling by 20 September 2019.