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UK-based Dana Petroleum has announced that it has started drilling an exploration well in the Moray Firth area of the North Sea.

The well, located near the Captain field, will target the Magnolia prospect in block 13/23a, which includes early Cretaceous sandstones.

Dana Petroleum UK managing director, Paul Griffin, said that Magnolia is an important achievement in the company’s UK exploration programme in 2013.

"It will also help us gain valuable experience working with the Ocean Nomad," Griffin added.

Dana has deployed the Nomad drilling rig, which is managed by Senergy, to drill the well, and is planning to start exploration activities at its $1.6bn Western Isles project by the end of 2013.

Senergy wells manager Matt Rothnie said the company has a long standing relationship with Dana Petroleum.

The well, which is the second one to be drilled in the North Sea, is expected to reach its total depth in four weeks.

Dana’s other partners in the project include Summit Petroleum, Trap Oil and Atlantic Petroleum, holding 25%, ten percent and 20% interest, respectively.

On 14 January 2013, the company announced first oil production from its Cormorant East Field in the northern North Sea.

The field produced at an initial rate of about 5,500 barrels of oil per day, which is about 1,100 barrels of oil per day net to Dana.

In 2012, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) approved a Field Development Plan (FDP) for the Cormorant East Field, part of the Contender Block.

Image: Located near the Captain field, the well will target the Magnolia prospect in block 13/23a. Photo courtesy of Dana Petroleum.