Drilling Begins At Maersk Oil Culzean Field

Published at 10:03AM - 29/09/16

Maersk Oil announced it has started drilling the first production well of the Culzean field, located in the UK sector of the North Sea.

The well is the first to be drilled on the high pressure/high temperature (HPHT) field and drilling activities are expected to continue until 2021.

“This is an important milestone in ensuring that we can deliver Culzean on schedule, and with it 5% of UK gas demand in 2020/2021,” Maersk Oil Chief Executive Officer designate, Gretchen Watkins, said.

Maersk Oil Spuds UK Culzean Field

The well is being drilled by the Maersk Highlander rig through a wellhead platform (WHP) jacket and well access deck (WAD) installed on location in the second quarter of this year.

As soon as the three topsides are installed in 2018 and hooked up in 2019, three of the six production wells will be ready for first gas, expected before the end of 2019.

Maersk Highlander Jackup Drilling Rig
Maersk Highlander Drilling Rig

“It’s great to have Maersk Drilling as a partner and together, we are working to ensure a safe drilling programme on this critical project for Maersk and the UK,” Watkins added.

The WHP jacket and WAD were built in the Netherlands and the UK, with construction of the wellhead topsides ongoing in Singapore.

Maersk Uses Virtual Well to Drill Culzean

For this drilling campaign, which will be supported by more than 30 UK-based well service companies, Maersk Drilling and Maersk Oil jointly prepared the drilling on a digital “virtual well”.

To this effect, they used a specialised drilling simulator at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University.

Drilling Begins At Maersk Culzean Field
Maersk Highlander Drilling Rig Crew

“Working on a virtual rig, designed to look and feel like the Maersk Highlander, has been invaluable,” Culzean’s Wells Delivery Manager, Andrew Lough, said.

“It has enabled us to prepare in a very lifelike environment for the drilling campaign, which will contribute to a safe and efficient drilling operation that will be an important milestone in developing the largest new field discovered in the UK North Sea for more than a decade,” he added.