March 13 (UPI) -- New production from the British waters of the North Sea means it's time for renewed optimism in the sector, London-listed Cairn Energy said Tuesday.
Nearly a month after production began, the first cargo of about 500,000 barrels of oil was delivered in late January from the Catcher area in the North Sea. The complex, comprised of the Catcher, Burgman and Varadero fields, was discovered in 2010 by Premiere Oil, the operator, and the company at the time put the gross reserve estimate between 25 million and 50 million barrels of oil.
When it announced the start of production, Premiere said Catcher holds about 96 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Cairn holds a 20 percent working interest in the Catcher basin and, combined with North Sea field Kraken, the company said it was performing on time and under budget.
"With first oil production from its North Sea developments, Cairn continues to deliver a strong and balanced business with a growing production base supporting further development and a multi-well exploration program offering significant growth potential," Chief Executive Simon Thomson said in a statement.
Offshore Norway, the company said the Nova development formerly called Skarfjell would be in production by 2021 and deliver at a peak rate of 50,000 barrels of oil per day. About 20 percent of that could go to Cairn, reflecting its working interest in the project.
Outside of Europe, the SNE development offshore Senegal, one of the largest oil finds in recent years, could be sanctioned by the regional government by the end of the year.
Cairn expects its net production will be in the range of 17,000 to 20,000 barrels per day for the year.