P2170 Blocks 20/5b & 21/1d (Verbier) – JOG 18%


On the 9th October 2017 JOG announced an oil discovery in the Verbier sidetrack well, 20/05b-13Z drilled in Licence P2170. The well was drilled safely and within budget to the planned total depth of 3811m and a suite of log data had been acquired via Logging While Drilling (“LWD”), including pressure data.

Preliminary analysis indicated

  • The well proved a hydrocarbon accumulation in good quality sands, up dip of the water bearing sands encountered in the initial well
  • Evaluation of the well results, together with the existing 3D seismic data was undertaken
  • Initial Operator estimates of gross recoverable resources associated with the Verbier discovery were between 25 and 130 million barrels of oil equivalent, with a minimum proven recoverable volume, in the immediate vicinity of the wellbore, of 25 million barrels of oil equivalent

In addition to confirming the presence of oil in the Verbier prospect, this discovery provided valuable information to help better understand the prospectivity of the licence area, which includes the Cortina prospect and the Meribel lead.


Blocks 20/5b and 21/1d were awarded as a Traditional Licence in the 28th Licensing Round. The blocks lie approximately 100km northeast of Aberdeen, close to the Buchan and Tweedsmuir North and South oilfields and straddle the western end of the North Buchan Trough.

Prospectivity was identified in the Late Jurassic and the technical studies were focused on seismic reprocessing, remapping and petroleum charge studies. The completed work programme improved the delineation and risking of the identified prospectivity.

Post completion of a farm-out, Statoil (now Equinor) funded all costs up to US$25 million in respect of the first exploration well and became Licence Operator with a 70 per cent. working interest.  The Company retained an 18 per cent. interest, of which 10 per cent. continued to be carried by CIECO, pursuant to the pre-existing arrangements between the parties, through the first two wells to be drilled in the Licence, and CIECO retained a 12 per cent. interest.

On the 27thMarch 2017, JOG announced that an independent assessment of resource estimates in relation to Licence P.2170, Blocks 20/5b & 21/1d had been completed by ERC Equipoise Ltd (“ERCE”).

Highlights of the CPR

  • Mean Prospective Resources attributed to Licence P.2170 for the Verbier prospect increased to 162 Million barrels of oil equivalent (“MMboe”) from 118 MMboe and the chance of success increased to 29% from 26%
  • Contingent Resources relating to discovery well 20/5a-10Y identified
  • Mean Prospective Resources for the Cortina prospect increased to 124 MMboe from 91 MMboe with a chance of success of 19%

Effective the 14th August 2017 and further to internal restructuring, CIECO changed its name from CIECO Exploration and Production (UK) Limited to CIECO E&P (UK) Limited to CIECO V&C (UK) Limited.

On the 11thSeptember 2017 JOG announced that the Statoil operated 20/05b-13 exploration well drilled to test the Verbier prospect had been safely drilled, reaching the planned target Total Depth of 4,267m on 10 September 2017. The well encountered water-bearing Upper Jurassic sands, deeper than anticipated. A decision on whether to drill a sidetrack would be taken after evaluation of wireline logs, although at the time JOG considered this to be unlikely.

On the 18thSeptember 2017 JOG announced that, further to the Company’s announcement of 11 September 2017, the wireline log data from the initial exploration well, received late on 12 September 2017, had been evaluated by the P.2170 Joint Venture led by the operator Statoil. Indications of the potential for hydrocarbons to be present in a smaller accumulation up dip of the 20/05b-13 Verbier exploration well could not be ruled out. Accordingly, agreement was reached by the P.2170 Joint Venture to target this resource with a sidetrack exploration well. The successful results of this well were announced by the Company on 9thOctober 2017, as described above.

On the 24thApril 2018 JOG announced that the co-venturers in respect of UKCS Licence P.2170 (Blocks 20/5b & 21/1d) had committed to pre-fund a 3D seismic survey over the P.2170 licence area and certain offset acreage (the “Area of Interest” or “AOI”), which was to be conducted as part of a wider GeoStreamer MultiClient 3D seismic survey by Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (“PGS”) during Q2 2018 in the Moray Firth area.

JOG further advised the Company’s share of the survey costs in respect of the AOI was to be funded from its existing cash reserves, with total Capex for 2018 now expected to be towards the upper end of the previously announced range of £9 million to £11 million.

Effective the 16th May 2018 operator changed its name from Statoil (U.K.) Limited to Equinor UK Limited (“Equinor”).

Effective 24thNovember 2018, the Oil & Gas Authority confirmed the licensed area would be replaced by the new licence area in order to satisfy the Mandatory Surrender Area required, under the terms of the Licence, at the end of the Initial Term. The licensed area retained all identified prospectivity including Verbier, Cortina and Meribel. The licence has entered the Second Term, which has a four-year duration.

On the 4thMarch 2019, JOG announced that drilling operations had commenced on well 20/05b-14 (the Verbier appraisal) well utilising the semi-submersible rig West Phoenix.

On the 3rdApril 2019 JOG announced that the 20/05b-14 appraisal well had been safely drilled, ahead of schedule and within budget to a total depth of 3,784m. Based on preliminary observations during drilling, the well did not encounter Upper Jurassic sands as anticipated. As a result, contingent resource volumetric estimations for the Verbier discovery would likely be revised towards the lower end of the initial resource estimate of 25 million barrels of oil equivalent (“mmboe”) announced following the discovery in October 2017.

Work is ongoing to complete a full re-evaluation of the licence area, combining the recent appraisal well results and data collected during operations with the fully processed 3D broadband seismic data. The geological and geophysical evaluation has been completed resulting in a revised prospect inventory and associated oil in place estimations. Reservoir engineering studies are ongoing to determine production profiles and recoverable volumes for the Verbier oil discovery.

On the 4th February 2020, Equinor advised of its intention to assign interest and transfer operatorship to P2170 coventurers JOG and CIECO. Completion of the assignment and transfer is expected to be early Q2 2020.