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ExxonMobil eyes exciting Canadian wildcat plan for 2022

US giant wants to drill Hampden exploration well in prolific Flemish Pass basin next summer

ExxonMobil is on the hunt for a semi-submersible to complete the drilling of a deepwater wildcat offshore eastern Canada that was originally spudded last year.

The decision by the US supermajor to revive drilling in the prolific Flemish Pass basin of Newfoundland & Labrador will be a further fillip to an oil province now emerging from an annus horribilis when there were questions over the future of the entire upstream sector.

The effects of Covid-19 and the energy transition saw exploration expenditure slashed and three major projects — Bay du Nord, West White Rose and Terra Nova Expansion —stalled.

However, the province has turned a corner, with Equinor’s Bay du Nord scheme in the Flemish Pass being revived after major new oil discoveries and Suncor Energy lifting the threat to abandon Terra Nova, while cancelled exploration campaigns are being reviewed.

ExxonMobil is currently prequalifying companies to supply a mobile offshore drilling unit to wrap up drilling on the Hampden prospect in Exploration Licence (EL) 1165A.

Responses must be submitted by 9 July.

The supermajor wants the well to spud between May and August 2022 in a water depth of 1175 metres, some 245 nautical miles (454 kilometres) from St John’s, the provincial capital.

In May last year, Seadrill’s semisub West Aquarius started drilling the Hampden K-41 probe, but after just one week the rig was pulled off location for reasons that are unclear.

Upstream understands that the rig completed conductor and surface casing operations at the well site, located in the south of EL 1165A.

Originally, the Hampden probe was planned to be drilled to be a depth between 3445 and 4663 metres.

The latest prequalification documentation states that the well has a target depth of 3470 metres and will likely take between 50 and 60 days to complete.

Hampden is a Cretaceous sandstone prospect and lies about 50 kilometres east of ExxonMobil’s North Dana gas discovery from 1986.

EL 1165A — controlled 100% by ExxonMobil — lies immediately south of EL 1165B, where ExxonMobil is partnered by Equinor and Suncor.

This acreage (EL 1165) was created in 2019 by amalgamating parts of EL 1134 with the entire EL 1135 tract.

The EL 1135 partners — ExxonMobil, Equinor and Suncor — secured the block in 2015 by offering a huge C$559 million (US$453 million) bid.

ExxonMobil drilled the Harp L-42A wildcat in EL 1165A last year, with the probe being suspended after a six-month drilling operation.(Copyright)

Source: Upstream | This text was excerpted from the media outlet cited on July 5, 2021 and is provided to Noia members for information purposes only. Any opinion expressed therein is neither attributable to nor endorsed by Noia.