Germany's Wintershall announced Tuesday that it has made an oil discovery in exploration license F17a in the Dutch North Sea about 75 miles north of Den Helder, the Netherlands.
Exploration well F17-10 found a Late Cretaceous Chalk reservoir of good quality containing crude oil. Wintershall added that oil was produced during a production test.
The well spud on Sept. 18 with jack-up rig GSP Saturn in a water depth of 144 feet. The well drilled to a total depth of 4,889 feet into the top of a salt dome.
Wintershall said measurements taken in the well indicate the presence of a significant oil column. Preliminary resource estimates indicate a potential of at least 30 million barrels recoverable oil with a more than significant upside. The firm plans to plug and abandon the well, and added that commercial viability of the discovery, as well as further upside, will need to be confirmed through appraisal drilling planned in 2013.
Gilbert van den Brink, Managing Director of Wintershall Noordzee, commented in a company statement:
"We are delighted with the results from this well. It has been a while since one of our exploration wells has been targeting for oil. Although we are also operating the Kotter and Logger oil fields, for some time now the focus of Wintershall Noordzee is set around producing gas fields and exploring for gas. This discovery gives us the opportunity to grow our business in the Netherlands and provide a more balanced portfolio in terms of oil and gas.
"Our challenge now will be to move this discovery from the exploration phase, through appraisal drilling in 2013, to the development phase thereafter. Furthermore, we are looking for additional exploration drilling in this area. It would be great if we can add one or two additional oil fields on the map again."
Wintershall Noordzee holds a 30-percent stake in the F17a license, while EBN, GDF SUEZ E&P Nederland, Rosewood Exploration and TAQA Offshore hold stakes of 40 percent, 20 percent, five percent and five percent respectively.