Oil and gas exploration company Neptune Energy, along with its joint venture (JV) partners BP and Japan Petroleum Exploration (Japex), has awarded a contract to Valaris for the Seagull project.

Valaris will provide a heavy-duty jack-up drilling rig for the Seagull development oil project in the UK North Sea.

The company’s jack-up drilling rig Rowan Gorilla VI (VALARIS JU-248) will be used to drill four firm wells for the Seagull development.

Neptune Energy said that the contract has been granted, following the award of the SPS and SURF contract to TechnipFMC in July 2019.

The drilling programme, which will run for about 18 months, is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2020.

Neptune Energy UK managing director Pete Jones said: “Seagull is a very positive example of what our industry is working hard to achieve in terms of MER UK; the project partners have embraced a collaborative, commercially-innovative approach and extended the life of operating assets through the use of existing infrastructure in order to maximise recovery of North Sea hydrocarbons.”

The high pressure and high temperature development Seagull is located on UK licence P1622 Block 22/29C. It is 17km south of the BP Operated ETAP Central Processing Facility (CPF).

Existing subsea infrastructure, which would otherwise have been decommissioned, will be used to tie back Seagull to the ETAP CPF partially. It will supply gas onshore at the CATS processing terminal located at Teesside, while oil will come onshore through the Forties Pipeline System to the Kinneil Terminal, Grangemouth.

According to the company, the development is initially expected to produce approximately 50,000boe/d across its design life of ten years, with proved and probable gross reserves estimated at 50Mboe. Neptune is the operator of the field with a 35% equity interest. The remaining stake is held by BP (50%) and Japex (15%).

In April 2019, Neptune Energy and its partners decided to go ahead with development of the Seagull oil and gas field.