LONDON, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- British energy company Dana Petroleum announced its $1.6 billion drilling project in the North Sea was two months ahead of schedule.
Dana said it started drilling operations at its Western Isles development project. The nine-well, $1.6 billion development project is expected to yield more than 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent when it starts production in 2015.
"Beginning drilling two months ahead of schedule is another very important milestone for the Western Isles project and Dana," managing director Paul Griffin said in a statement Monday. "Western Isles is a key project for our future growth ambitions as we aim to significantly grow our production."
Dana said its average annual production last year was around 33,000 barrels of oil per day. The Western Isles project should have a 15-year life span, the company said.
In June, British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said there may be as much as 20 billion barrels of oil and associated natural gas available to energy companies eager to work offshore. Declining production rates and aging infrastructure, however, presented long-term risks.