As part of its Greater Laggan Area joint venture in Shetland, TotalEnergies and its partners have begun drilling a significant new exploration well that could see the venture still producing gas at the end of this decade.
The Transocean Barents, a semi-submersible drilling rig, spudded the Benriach-1 well within Block 206/05c with the aim of accessing some 638 billion cubic feet of probable and proven resources of natural gas. TotalEnergies—the maker of the Total lubricant, grease and coolant products—is the operator for the joint venture, with Ineos E&P UK Limited, Kistos Energy Limited and RockRose UKCS15 Limited each owning a 20% interest.
The venture also includes an onshore gas plant on Shetland; maintaining sufficient gas flows to this plant is thought to be key to maintaining the viability of the overall venture. Andrew Austin, the executive chairman of Kistos, previously said about this project:
“The cut off for the life of our assets is not driven by the reservoir, but by making sure we get enough throughput into the plant, whether it’s Benriach, Glendronach or Shell’s long-dormant Victory gas discovery — whose output will be fed to the Shetland facility.”
The Greater Laggan Area covers waters with a depth of 300–600 metres and lies about 90 miles west of the Shetland Islands. Within it are four gas-producing fields: Edradour, Laggan, Glenlivet, and Tormore. The Tormore and Laggan fields have been producing gas since 2016, while the Edradour and Glenlivet started production in 2017. TotalEnergies expects to complete the new well in the third quarter.