Premier Oil has made a significant discovery in the Outer Moray Firth after completing a drilling operation in the UK North Sea.

The 13/25-1 well was drilled to target subsea prospect Bagpuss on the Halibut Horst and has reached a total depth of 1,532ft in granite basement. It encountered 41ft of hydrocarbon-bearing sands within a 68ft hydrocarbon column and is now being plugged and abandoned.

The company is in the process of further analysing the results, but Premier Oil has said the sands have between 25% and 33% porosity, and indicate the oil is heavy.

Premier Oil's exploration and North Sea director Robin Allan said: “The Bagpuss well has proven a significant volume of oil in place.

"Premier Oil has said the sands have between 25% and 33% porosity, and indicate the oil is heavy."

“We will now work with our partners to carry out a full analysis of the hydrocarbons and reservoir encountered to ascertain whether commerciality can be established.”

Premier announced plans to spud the Bagpuss heavy oil exploration prospect last month. The well was drilled using the Ocean Valiant rig, which was preparing to move off location at the Solan field after completing drilling activities.

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In April this year, the company completed the acquisition of E.ON’s UK North Sea assets. Management of E.ON’s UK portfolio was transferred to Premier’s UK business unit in Aberdeen later on.