Neptune Energy starts drilling at 'interesting' North Sea prospect

Neptune Energy said drilling has begun on a key exploration well in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

The Ofelia well is being drilled by the Deepsea Yantai, a semi-submersible rig, owned by CIMC and operated by Odfjell Drilling. The Ofelia prospect is located some 13 kilometres north of the Gjøa field within the Neptune-operated PL929 licence.

In the event of a commercial discovery, the Ofelia prospect could be tied back to the Neptune-operated Gjøa platform and produce at less than half the average carbon intensity of Norwegian Continental Shelf fields, the firm noted.

Neptune’s director of subsurface in Norway, Steinar Meland, said: “Ofelia is an interesting prospect and fits our exploration strategy of focusing on opportunities within core areas near existing infrastructure.

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“In case of a discovery, Ofelia could potentially be developed in parallel with Hamlet, resulting in a low cost and carbon efficient development.”

Neptune Energy, which was founded by former Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw, is a global exploration and production company with operations across Europe, North Africa and Asia Pacific. It is backed by CIC and funds advised by Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners.

In May, the firm said it planned to spend more than $1 billion (£810 million) over the next five years helping to secure energy supplies for the UK.

The group, which currently operates around 11 per cent of the UK’s gas supply from fields in the UK Southern North Sea and the Norwegian North Sea, said its investment would also accelerate the transition to net zero.

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The Ofelia well is being drilled by the Deepsea Yantai, a semi-submersible rig.

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