ROV Issues Impact IOG's Southwark Drilling Operations

The first Southwark development well was expected to spud by the weekend of 18-19 December, following the repair of the Noble Hans Deul rig. Having initially anticipated a minor delay, owing to repeated technical issues with the underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), it has not yet been possible to safely spud the well.

A fully functioning ROV is required for surveying the rig's spud cans (leg footings) and ensuring the rig is correctly aligned, as an essential prerequisite for drilling to proceed. A second, higher specification ROV, together with spares and additional personnel, has been mobilised to the rig but has as yet been unable to complete the necessary surveys owing to further technical issues. Repair operations are underway to rectify both units and an alternative vessel-based solution is being put in place should it be required. It is currently expected that the well will be spudded in the coming days and the Company reiterates its guidance for Southwark first gas in mid-2022.

Andrew Hockey, CEO of IOG, commented: "After the extensive efforts to get the rig successfully repaired and remobilised to Southwark, it is very frustrating to have not yet spudded the first Southwark development well. However, as always, safety is paramount and we are actively pursuing alternative solutions with the relevant contractors. With spud now expected in the coming days, Southwark first gas remains planned for mid-2022."

Location: North Sea

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