UK-based independent oil and gas company Serica Energy, on behalf of the Rhum partners, has signed a contract covering the provision of a drilling rig for the intervention work on the Rhum-3 (R3) well in the UK North Sea.

Under the contract, Awilco Drilling’s WilPhoenix, a third-generation, enhanced pacesetter, harsh-environment, mid-water, semi-submersible drilling rig will be used for the works, which are expected start in the fourth quarter of 2020 and continue for approximately 70 days.

Serica Energy chief executive Mitch Flegg said: “We are delighted that this work will proceed in 2020. With a strong balance sheet, no debt and limited decommissioning liabilities, Serica is well-placed to weather the wider industry downturn related to COVID-19 and low commodity prices. This resilient position is enabling us to also continue with our previously stated work programmes.

“Bringing the R3 well into operation will increase the production capacity of the Rhum field and will also improve the expected ultimate recovery of reserves. Having three rather than two wells will also provide more flexibility in the management of the field.”

The Rhum-3 works include recovering debris in the well left by the previous operator

The planned works will include recovering debris left in the R3 well by the previous operator and removing an obstruction that is believed to be in place across parts of the downhole completion.

Later, the well is planned to be recompleted and put into production. It is already connected to the subsea production

Rhum is a gas condensate field that produces from two subsea wells, R1 and R2, tied into the Bruce facilities through a 45km pipeline.

The company said that the production from Rhum, which is separated into gas and condensate, will be exported to St Fergus and Grangemouth, along with production Bruce and Keith fields.

As the third well R3 was assessed to require intervention work to place it into production, investigative work to identify the condition of the well and associated control systems was carried out in the first half of 2019.