May 23 (UPI) -- A rig contract to explore parts of a North Sea discovery could put it one step closer to production at the start of the decade, an oil and gas company said.
Faroe Petroleum said it contracted rig company Transocean to use its Transocean Arctic rig for exploration work on the eastern section of the Brasse field, which was discovered two years ago. If the well is successful, the company said it could net another 30 million barrels of oil equivalent.
"The Brasse development program continues apace as we work towards concept selection by year end," CEO Graham Stewart said in a statement. "If successful the Brasse east well could contribute significant additional hydrocarbons, thereby potentially adding further value to this attractive flagship development project."
Earlier estimates put the total recoverable reserve volumes at 46 million barrels of oil and 59 billion cubic feet of gas at the low end.
Faroe completed a field development study at the end of last year and continues work toward a start date set for as early as 2021. Drilling operations are set for the fourth quarter of this year.
Faroe is capitalizing on momentum from a $114 million move by Norwegian energy company DNO to take 27.7 percent of its shares, a move Stewart said gave his company a distinct advantage in funding.
Capital spending on Brasse is estimated at $640 million, but final spending figures depend on Faroe's ultimate development decision.
Statistics Norway, the government's record-keeping agency, expects total investments in oil and gas extraction and pipeline transport will be 11 percent higher than the government's estimate for 2018 from the fourth quarter.
Already by December, seven plans for development of operation were submitted for approval and more are expected this year.