Serica Energy has spudded the Columbus 23/16f-CDev1 development well in the UK central North Sea.

The well will be drilled to a total depth of 17,600ft using the Maersk Resilient Heavy Duty Jack Up rig. It will include a 5,600ft horizontal section.

Located 35km north-east of the Shearwater production facilities, the Columbus development area is planned to be drained by a single producing well tied into the Arran to Shearwater pipeline.

According to estimates, Columbus holds gross undeveloped 2P reserves in excess of 14 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Upon completion of drilling development well, Serica Energy plans to install an open-hole sand-screen completion.

A short clean-up flow and well test will also be undertaken to provide production data and prepare the well for flowing into the export system. The well will later be suspended.

Production from the Columbus well is planned to be exported via the Arran pipeline along with Arran Field production, to the Shearwater platform.

Serica Energy CEO Mitch Flegg said: “Over 70% of Columbus production will be natural gas, which is a key element of the UK’s energy transition.

“Elsewhere, the Rhum R3 intervention project is progressing towards completion and, following operations to the reinstate production, is expected to make a significant contribution to overall field performance.

“Columbus and the Rhum R3 intervention work are part of a continuing programme of investment in our portfolio which is planned to continue in 2022 with the North Eigg exploration well.”

Production from the Columbus 23/16f-CDev1 development well is planned to start in early Q4 2021. It is expected to have an average gross production capacity of around 7,000boe/d.

Serica operates the Columbus development well with a 50% stake. Its partners include Waldorf Production UK (25%) and Tailwind Mistral (25%).