Premier owns interests in nine producing fields in the UK. Following on from the Oilexco acquisition (see press release) in 2009 and the EnCore acquisition (see press release) in 2012, the portfolio also contains a number of current and future development projects, a significant spread of exploration acreage and a large pool of tax allowances which shelter producing cash flow from tax for the medium term.

ABZ office

In 2013, Premier's producing fields in the UK delivered 14,900 boepd, representing 26% of the group's total production. We expect our production from the UK North Sea to grow to significantly in the medium term as we bring onstream key projects, such as Catcher and Solan, in our development portfolio.

Premier's producing interests in the UK include:

  • Balmoral area 
    The Balmoral area fields – Balmoral, Stirling, Brenda & Nicol – are located in Blocks 16/21a and 16/21b in the UK Central North Sea, 200 kilometres northeast of Aberdeen. We acquired our interest in the Balmoral area fields through our acquisition of Oilexco (see press release) in 2009. The Balmoral area fields produce via the Premier-operated floating production facility located on the Balmoral field. Oil is transported via the Brae-Forties link to Cruden Bay and overland to Hound Point.

    Premier owns and operates a number of other accumulations in the area which are expected to be developed via production well tie-backs to the Balmoral FPV. These include the Caledonia field (Premier - 100%) and the Ptarmigan discovery (Premier - 60%). We also derive benefit from the Burghley and Beauly third party fields utilizing the Balmoral area infrastructure.
    Field% InterestStatus
    Balmoral 78.11Producing
    Caledonia100Potential redevelopment
  • Wytch Farm (30.1% non-operated interest)
    Wytch Farm field is Europe's largest onshore oil field. In December 2011, we completed the acquisition of an additional 17.715% interest in Wytch Farm, taking our total interest to 30.1% (see press release). An infill drilling programme at Wytch Farm, which was initiated by the new operator in the first quarter of 2012, has resulted in the completion of three new wells and seven workovers. The operator now operates two rigs simultaneously at Wytch Farm.  Premier believes that sufficient reserves-adding opportunities exist to sustain an active rig programme. Drilling activity is targeting infill locations in producing fields as well as undeveloped satellite accumulations.

    Premier's partners in Wytch Farm are Perenco (operator), Maersk, Summit Petroleum and Talisman Sinpec. The Wytch farm partners also have interests in the offshore Beacon discovery, which has estimated 2P reserves of 2.7 mmboe net to Premier.

  • Kyle (40% non-operated interest)
    In 1995, Premier acquired a 20% interest in the P748 licence, which contains the Kyle oil field, through its acquisition of Pict. Between 1997 and 2002, we acquired additional equity interests in the Kyle field taking our total interest to 40 %.

    The Kyle field has been developed via sub-sea wells connected to two manifolds (North and South) tied back to the Banff FPSO. Oil and gas production from the Kyle field began in 2001. Due to exceptionally bad weather in December 2011, the Banff FPSO moved off location. The vessels anchors, risers and subsea infrastructure were severely damaged.  The FPSO was removed from the location to effect repairs and the subsea infrastructure replaced. The vessel is now back on location and production will recommence in Q3 2014.

  • Scott & Telford (21.83% & 1.59% respectively, non operated interests)
    The Scott field has proven to be one of the larger and more productive oil fields to be found on the UKCS. We acquired a 1.798% equity stake in the 15/21 licence as part of our acquisition of Pict in 1995. In May 2007, we successfully pre-empted Hess's proposed sale of its interest in part of the Scott field increasing our holding to 21.83% (see press release).

    The Telford field lies immediately to the south of the Scott field, with the Scott platform supplying processing and injection facilities. Our interest in the Telford field was increased from 0.8% to 1.59% in December 2010, when we pre-empted the purchase by Dana Petroleum of Suncor's interest in the field.

    In June 2014, Premier sold its non-operated interests in Scott, Telford and Rochelle to MOL Group for a cash consideration of $130 million (see press release). Completion is subject to receipt of government approval.
  • Huntington (40% non-operated interest)
    Premier acquired a 40% non-operated interest in the Huntington light oil field in 2009 as a result of the Oilexco acquisition (see press release). A field development plan was sanctioned in November 2010 together with the execution of an FPSO charter party agreement (see press release).

    First oil from the Huntington field was achieved on 12 April 2013 (see press release). The field produces at a plateau rate of 25-30 kbopd (gross). Oil is exported through offshore loading to shuttle tankers while gas is exported via CATS System and redelivered at the Teesside Gas Terminal where it is sold.

    The other owners  in the Huntington field are E.ON Exploration and Production (25 per cent, Operator), Noreco (20 per cent) and Iona Energy (15 per cent).

  • Rochelle (15 %, non-operated interest)
    Rochelle is a gas condensate project in the Central North Sea, discovered in 2000 and successfully appraised in 2009 by Endeavour, the operator of the licence at the time.

    Premier acquired an interest in the area via the drilling of the successful West Rochelle well in a neighbouring block in 2010 (see press release). Formal approval for the development was granted by the UK government in December 2011. The field development consists of a  two well sub-sea tie-back to the Scott platform. The subsea pipeline ,umbilical installation programme and upgrades to the Scott platform were completed in 2013 and first production occurred in October 2013.

    In July 2013, operatorship of the Rochelle field transferred to Nexen, who also operate the Scott platform. Oil export is via the Forties Pipeline System and gas export via the SAGE pipeline to St Fergus.

    In June 2014, Premier sold its non-operated interests in Scott, Telford and Rochelle to MOL Group for a cash consideration of $130 million (see press release). Completion is subject to receipt of government approval.

Wytch Farm

NS Balmoral

NS producing

Significant UK projects include:

  • Solan (60% operated interest)
    The Solan oil field was discovered in 1991 by Hess and relinquished. The discovery was further appraised by Chrysaor with two wells in 2008 and 2009.

    In May 2011, Premier acquired a 60% equity interest in the Solan field (see press release) and, in April 2012 approval of the Solan Field Development Plan was granted from DECC (see press release).

    Drilling of the four development wells - two producers and two water injectors - commenced in April 2013 with the first pair completed in the  summer of 2014. Onshore construction of the subsea storage tank, jacket and topsides was completed in 2014 with the facilities installed during August and September 2014 (see press release). The offshore hook up and commissioning programme has commenced. Precise timing of first oil from the Solan field will depend upon the progress of this next phase.

    The field is expected to produce approximately 40 mmbbls. Chrysaor is Premier's partner in the field with an equity stake of 40%.

    View Solan Video
  • The Catcher Block (50% operated interest)
    The initial Catcher well drilled in May 2010 encountered good quality Cromarty reservoir with an estimated net oil pay of 27 meters (see press release). A follow up sidetrack well, Catcher East, also encountered excellent quality oil bearing sandstones and a common pressure regime (see press release). Phase 2 of the Catcher area exploration was completed in late 2010 and early 2011 with successful discoveries in Varadero (see press release) and Burgman (see press release). In June 2012, the Carnaby well, which was the first well to be drilled on the western part of the block, encountered good quality oil.  It is expected that the Carnaby discovery (see press release) will contribute as a future tie back to the Catcher development. Most recently, in April 2013, the Bonneville exploration well and its side track discovered oil (see press release). The estimated oil in place from the Bonneville discoveries is approximately 30 million barrels which is in line with pre-drill predictions.  It is anticipated that the discoveries will be tied back to the Catcher field development.

    As a result of the EnCore acquisition, which completed in January 2012 (see press release), we increased our interest in the Catcher area by 15%, taking our overall interest in the project to 50%. We also acquired operatorship of the project.

    The development concept was formally agreed by partners in December 2013 and government approval was received in June 2014 (see press release). The project is expected to produce 96 million barrels of oil equivalent with a peak production rate of around 50,000 barrels of oil per day.

    The project will entail the drilling of 22 subsea wells (14 producers and 8 water injectors) on the Catcher, Varadero and Burgman fields which will be tied back to a leased FPSO. The oil will be offloaded by tankers while the gas will be exported through the SEGAL facilities.

    All major service contracts have been awarded and the project is now in the execution phase. First oil is targeted for mid-2017.

    View Catcher Video

Premier has interests in more than 40 exploration licences in the UK North Sea.

  • P1430 (50% operated interest)
    In April 2013, Premier discovered oil at Bonneville on the important Premier-operated Catcher licence in the UK Central North Sea. The estimated oil in place from the Bonneville discoveries is approximately 30 million barrels which is in line with pre-drill predictions and it is anticipated that the discoveries will be tied back to the Catcher field development.
  • P1181 (20.20% non-operated interest)
    In July 2013, the exploration well targeting the Lacewing prospect encountered a gas column of greater than 100 feet in the Triassic interval and confirmed reservoir quality sands. Post well evaluation work is progressing to ascertain whether commerciality can be established.
  • P1943 (37.5% operated interest)
    In August 2013, Premier farmed in for a 37.5% interest in Blocks 13/24c and 13/25, which contain the Bagpuss and Blofeld prospects.  The prospects, which Premier evaluates to be heavy oil targets, are located on the Halibut Horst which is a well-defined basement high within the Moray Firth.  Analysis of the 1981 discovery well result suggests that the Bagpuss and Blofeld prospects together could contain up to 2 billion barrels of oil in place.  It is envisaged that an initial well on one of these features will spud in the first half of 2015.

Access to Premier's Oil and Gas Infrastructure
The infrastructure code of practice is a voluntary arrangement developed by Oil & Gas UK in consultation with DECC. Under the arrangement, operators have agreed to publish high level capacity, technical and commercial data about the pipelines and facilities that they operate on the UK Continental Shelf in order to facilitate the utilisation of such infrastructure, by prospective third party users, for the development of remaining UKCS reserves.

Balmoral Facilities
The Balmoral FPV is a purpose-built GVA 5000 semi-submersible production vessel. It was installed over the Balmoral field in 1986 and moored over a 14-slot subsea template through which a number of wells had been pre-drilled. First production occurred in late 1986.

The FPV mooring system consists of 8 adjustable-tension anchor chains attached to piles. The topsides facilities include fluid separation and processing facilities, power generation, gas compression and a 116-man living quarters. Total vessel displacement is about 34,000 tonnes. The system utilises dynamic risers for the receipt of production fluids and the export of processed oil. The vessel does not have any drilling facilities installed.

Maximum design throughputs are approximately 60,000 bbl/day oil production and 90,000 bbl/day produced water handling.

The vessel has no oil storage capability and oil is exported to Cruden Bay via a 14km 14" diameter pipeline to the Brae and Forties Pipeline System. There is no gas evacuation route and gas processed on the FPV is used for fuel and gas-lift, with the surplus flared. In addition to Balmoral, production from the Glamis, Stirling, Beauly, Brenda, Nicol and Burghley satellite fields is processed and exported via the FPV.

Capacity Information (Annex E Data)

Capacity Information


Commercial Manager
Premier Oil plc
Blenheim Gate
53 Blenheim Place
AB25 2DZ
+44 (1224) 618900