Ithaca Energy said that the Sedco 704 drilling unit is now being anchored on location over the Athena field ready to begin an approximate 180 day campaign for drilling a fourth production well and a water injector well and completing the three existing wells on the field as producers.

In addition, modification and re-certification of the Floating Production Storage and Offtake (FPSO) vessel (BW Athena) is underway in a Dubai shipyard.

The Athena Field is situated in Block 14/18b in the Outer Moray Firth area of the UK Continental Shelf, Ithaca said.

The Sedco 704 drilling unit will initially drill one water injection well, followed by a fourth production well (three suspended appraisal wells are to be completed for production as part of this campaign).

The four production wells will be installed with downhole submersible pumps to maximize field production rates.

Initial production from the field is estimated at a gross rate of 22,500 barrels of oil per day (bopd) (5,062bopd net to Ithaca).

Subsea work will follow in the third quarter of 2011, to install field pipelines and subsea manifolds.

The FPSO ‘BW Athena’ is at dockside in Dubai and preparation works have commenced to re-certify existing equipment and install new equipment.

All work is anticipated to be completed in the third quarter of 2011 allowing the vessel to return to UK waters and arrive on location at Athena at end of the third quarter of 2011.