Ithaca Energy has acquired license P.2158 (block 15/18b) in the UK central North Sea from Total E&P UK.
The concession includes the Yeoman discovery and the southern extent of the Hibiscus Petroleum-operated Marigold discovery.
Both fields contain oil and gas within the Palaeocene Balmoral sandstone fairway, with estimated combined resources of more than 15 MMboe.
Further payments will be due on approval for a field development plan.
As for the impact of current developments, Ithaca said the most significant risk presented by COVID-19 risk to its North Sea business is a potential shutdown of production.
This could follow an infection being detected among the workforce at either the Captain or Greater Stella Area complexes.
To minimize the risk, the company has cut staff numbers on its operated offshore facilities to a minimum level to safely maintain production and execute any critical maintenance.
It has also introduced measures to minimize the risk of infected personnel travelling offshore and to isolate and transport to shore any suspected cases on its installations. But no related incidents have occurred offshore on any of the facilities so far.
As for capex action, the company has suspended the Alba field infill drilling campaign that started at the end of 2019, and has postponed offshore works associated with preparations for renewed platform drilling on the Captain field later this year.
Also deferred is the planned Fotla exploration well, with activities scaled back for the Jacky decommissioning program and the Hurricane field development.
Tie-in of the BP-operated Vorlich field (Ithaca 34%) to the Greater Stella Area facilities is being hindered by COVID-19 related restrictions to offshore construction activities; both in terms of completing the remaining subsea infrastructure installations and the associated work on the FPF-1 platform.
But Ithaca hopes to minimize the delay to start-up of Vorlich, which was scheduled for mid-2020 and which accounted for around 6% of the production guidance that the company issued at the start of the year.
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