Byron Energy has entered a drilling contract with Ensco Offshore Company for a jack-up rig to be deployed in the South Marsh Island Block 71 drilling and completion programme in the US Gulf of Mexico. 

Under the 60-day contract, Byron will drill the SM71 F2 well and then complete the SM71 F2 and SM71 F1 wells.

Ensco 68 will be available by the end of November after Byron installs its tripod production facility on the lease. 

Byron Energy CEO Maynard Smith said: "The Ensco 68 is a high-quality drilling rig with a reliable operating history in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Signing this contract is another important step towards establishing Byron’s first operated production platform."

The SM71 F2 well comprises the B65 Sand and the D5 Sand targets. D5 Sand is the primary focus of the development. 

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By GlobalData

Drilled last year, the first SM71 well logged 151ft of oil pay in four zones.

Independent reserve assessment prepared by Collarini Associates attributed a total of 2.271 million barrels equivalent net to Byron on a 2P basis to SM71 F1 well, with a majority procured from D5 Sand.

"Ensco 68 has a reliable operating history in the Gulf of Mexico."

The secondary target of the SM71 F2 is the B65 Sand, which lies above the D5 sand, where the well will test the prospective resources attributable to it.

Collarini attributed 2.042 million barrels of oil and two billion cubic feet of gas net to Byron from the B65 Sand.

The drilling programme is expected to take less than 30 days, while production is expected to start from January next year.

Byron Energy holds a 50% working interest in South Marsh Island Block 71 with the operatorship, while Otto Energy owns the remaining 50% working interest. 

Image: The Ensco 68 is an independent leg jack-up rig built by Marathon/ Le Tourneau in 1976. Photo: courtesy of Ensco Plc.