Nov. 16 (UPI) -- New oil production is on pace to start in December from a floating production facility off the east coast of Scotland, Premiere Oil said Thursday.
"In the United Kingdom, the Premier-operated Catcher project remains on schedule for first oil during December," the company announced. "The floating production storage and offloading vessel arrived on location on Oct. 18 and the production buoy was successfully pulled into the hull."
Catcher was discovered in 2010 by Premiere and the company put the gross reserve estimate at the time between 25 million and 50 million barrels of oil.
A North Sea review from consultant group Wood Mackenzie, published early this year, found more than a dozen new oil and natural gas fields are expected to enter into production this year. While new developments looking forward are scarce, about 30 percent of the production by 2020 will come from fields like Catcher that aren't yet fully operational.
Premiere offered no estimate about the rate of production. An emailed report from RBC Capital Markets said final testing at the FPSO at Catcher is imminent and eight production wells are expected at the field.
"The second phase of Catcher development wells is ongoing and results are at or better than expected," the market report from RBC read. "Catcher remains critical to deleveraging through fiscal year 2018 and accounts for around 25 percent of our production forecast."
Production for Premiere during the third quarter averaged around 76,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, but spiked up to 77,000 boe per day in October. Combined with its operations in Vietnam, and the initial input from Catcher, this rate should increase to as much as 80,000 boe per day by the end of the year, in line with its year-end guidance.
Cairn Energy is a partner at the Catcher field.