5 Oct 1971 – 10 Jun 1972

Mobil drill the first well on our blocks

Mobil drilled 21/28-1 using the Glomar III rig, the well was designated a dry hole, but actually found the Feugh field, the first discovery on the blocks.

Image credit : National Library of Australia

12 Jun 1987 – 25 Jun 1987

Mobil drill the Crinan discovery well

Mobil drilled 21/28a-4 using the M. G. Hulme rig, they discovered Crinan which was thought to be part of the Fyne field just to the North.

Image credit: Bjørn Poulsen

15 Mar 1989 – 18 Apr 1989

Fina discover the Harbour field

Fina, with partners Mobil, Repsol and Amerada Hess, drilled the 21/27-1 well using the Glomar Arctic III rig. This was the discovery well on Harbour, and proved up mobile oil in the Eocene.

Image credit: Koos Hauser

30 Sep 1989 – 3 Nov 1989

Fina discover the Pilot field

Fina and partners drilled the 21/27-2 well once again using the Glomar Arctic III rig. This well discovered Pilot and tested a six foot interval at the top of the reservoir at 80-115 bbls/day of 17º API oil.

Image credit: Ria Maat

10 May 1990 – 19 Jun 1990

Mobil find the Dandy field

Next door to Pilot, Mobil continued their appraisal of the Fyne field and drilled 21/28-6 with a rig then called the Maersk Highlander, to discover what was subsequently named the Dandy field. This well flowed 20º API oil at over 1,000 bopd.

Image credit: R Engelsman

14 Jun 1990 – 12 Jul 1990

First appraisal well on Pilot

The first appraisal well on Pilot 21/27-3, drilled using the Ocean Kokuei, was a disappointment for Fina as the sands pinched out and the oil-bearing sand interval wasn’t of great quality. But the data gathered was really helpful for Fina and subsequent operators, as it enabled accurate mapping of the pinch-out which provides the updip stratigraphic seal on Pilot.

Image credit: Oddbjorn Jortveit

13 Jul 1990 – 3 Aug 1990

Pilot South is discovered

Fina moved the Ocean Kokuei to the South and drilled 21/27-4 which discovered Pilot South, a part of the Pilot field with a shallower oil water contact than the main Pilot field.

Image credit: Paul Ling

1 Feb 1991 – 1 Jan 1993

Steve Brown led BP’s Harding pre-project team

Steve Brown (now Orcadian Energy’s CEO) was appointed BP’s team leader for the pre-project phase of the Harding development. This first offshore viscous oil development for BP was redesigned to use horizontal wells and a heavy duty jack-up drilling and production facility. In the end Harding Central achieved a 74% recovery factor.

Image credit: Wood

5 Nov 1993 – 3 Dec 1993

Arco discovered Narwhal

Arco drilled the 28/2-1 well using the Sedco 711. The well discovered the Narwhal field which lies to the South of Pilot.

Image credit: Tor Erlend Gjærde

Nov-1995 – Jul 1997

Monument and Halliburton Energy Development buy-in to Fyne & Dandy

In a deal cooked up by Bill Guest of Monument and Steve Brown, then working with Halliburton, Monument and Halliburton bought into the Fyne and Dandy discoveries.

Oct 1997 – May 2002

Steve Brown founds Challenge Energy and starts working with Greg Harding

Steve Brown along with Nick Hooke, Phil Seligmann and David Keith found Challenge Asset Management (now part of SLR) to provide oil and gas consultancy services. It was at Challenge that Steve first met and then recruited Greg Harding to work with him.

9 Mar 1998 – 11 Apr 1998

Monument and Halliburton drill the Dandy appraisal well

Monument, with partner Halliburton Energy Development, mobilise the Maersk Petrolia to drill 21/28a-8 and 8Z to appraise the Dandy discovery. This sidetracked well tests at over 1,000 bopd.

Image credit: Foggy

Sadly the only picture we could find of the Maersk Petrolia was while she was being decommissioned.

16 Sep 1998 – 18 Nov 1998

Fina return to test the Pilot discovery

Fina, with new partners Monument and Repsol (BP’s partner on Harding), return to the Pilot discovery, with the Santa Fe 135, and drill 21/27a-5, sidetrack to drill 21/27a-5Z and drill a short horizontal well, 21/27a-5X which tests at up to 1,850 bbls/day with an ESP in the well.

Image credit: Philip Andrew Muscat

6 Nov 2000 – 7 Dec 2000

Murphy discovers Elke

Murphy and partners CIECO, OMV and PanCanadian mobilse the Transocean John Shaw to drill the Elke discovery well.

Image credit: maltashipphotos.com

1 Sep 2001 – 6 Apr 2006

Venture build controlling stake in Pilot

Over a period of years Venture built up a controlling stake in the Pilot field, acquired the Narwhal discovery, and worked on a field development plan for Pilot. This work was very well advanced and a Letter of Intent for a Sevan FPSO had been signed.

1 Jan 2003 – 1 Jul 2004

Petrofac buy Elke

Petrofac negotiate a deal to acquire a 100% interest in the Elke discovery. This negotiation was led by Steve Brown, who at the time was Petrofac’s head of business development, and Richard Hall, who had drilled the discovery well with Murphy.

30 Jun 2007 – 23 Jul 2007

Venture drill the 21/27a-6 Pilot appraisal well

Venture drilled the 21/27a-6 well, with the Noble Ton Van Langeveld, and took a sample of the oil which had a gravity of 15ºAPI and a reservoir viscosity of 400 cP. Venture were disappointed as they had hoped for lighter oil and their low well intensity development scheme would not work with more viscous oil.

Image credit: Ian Mantel

24 Jul 2007 – 3 Aug 2007

Venture drill the 28/2a-2 Narwhal appraisal well

Double disappointment for Venture as they move the Noble Ton Van Langeveld south to drill the only well on our blocks not to find oil. The well was not drilled with the benefit of a 3D seismic survey and while it found a good sand package there was no oil.

Image credit: Rolf Bridde

1 Jan 2010 – 1 Apr 2010

EnQuest is listed

EnQuest, which was formed through the merger of Petrofac and Lundin Petroleum’s UK North Sea assets, was listed on the London Stock Exchange. Petrofac’s assets included the Elke discovery.

24 Jul 2010 – 7 Aug 2010

Wintershall discover Blakeney

Wintershall along with partner Sterling Resources drill the 21/27b-7 well, with the Ocean Nomad, and discover the Blakeney field which lies just North East of Pilot.

Image credit: Marton Berntsen

12 Apr 2011 – 9 Jan 13

EnQuest licence Pilot

EnQuest applied for and won a drill-or-drop licence over the Pilot field. An EnQuest team, led by Maurice Bamford, conducted a thorough geological and geophysical evaluation of Pilot. However, the relatively low fluid handling and low well intensity scheme was not so profitable and EnQuest did not commit to drill a well to retain the licence.

Apr 2013

Delamaide et al, publish on the success of polymer flooding at Pelican Lake

Pelican Lake is the first successful application of polymer flood in a high viscosity oil reservoir (1,000-2,500cp). With a substantial boost to recovery factor demonstrated in the field.

1 Oct 2013 – 24 Mar 2014

Steve Brown and Greg Harding form Orcadian Energy (CNS) Ltd

Steve and Greg, with help from Simon Bradbury, Joe Darby and Prof Jon Gluyas, formed the company now known as Orcadian Energy (CNS) Ltd. The company was formed in order to apply for the Pilot Licence.

6 Nov 2014

Pilot licence P2244 awarded to Orcadian Energy (CNS)

Orcadian Energy is awarded its first licence which covers the Pilot discovery. The field had a large oil in place yet previous operators development schemes had not seemed profitable. The opportunity to maximise recovery by applying EOR techniques and intensifying the well density had not been fully explored and we knew that we had secured a great asset.

11 Dec 2015 – 31 Dec 2017

Orcadian agree to purchase Elke & Narwhal from EnQuest

Orcadian signed a deal to acquire Elke & Narwhal from EnQuest, but the transaction didn’t close as it required Orcadian to fund a well for the OGA to approve the assignment and it was too early in our development to prioritise an appraisal well on Elke.

1 Jun 2016

Maurice Bamford joins the team

Maurice Bamford, who had previously been Exploration and Geoscience manager for both EnQuest and Talisman, joins the Orcadian Team. At EnQuest Maurice had led the reservoir description and evaluation of Pilot and Elke.

23 Mar 2017

Blakeney licence P2320 awarded to Orcadian Energy (CNS)

Orcadian Energy is awarded a licence over the Blakeney, Feugh, Dandy, and Crinan discoveries. This licence also contains channels which feed into Pilot, and the low risk Bowhead prospect.

1 Jun 2017

Alan Hume joins the Orcadian team

Alan Hume joined the Orcadian team, supporting the company first as an advisor, and since June 2018 as Chief Financial Officer.

1 Jun 2017 – 1 Mar 2020

Orcadian, Pragma and OGTC work on HT-DHSV

Orcadian and the OGTC supported a work programme undertaken by Pragma Well Technology to design and build the world’s first high temperature downhole safety valve.

25 Sep 2017 – 30 Nov 2018

Orcadian agrees how P2244 continues into the Second Term

Orcadian agrees a substitute work programme with OGA so the P2244 can continue into the Second Term. Orcadian was approved as an Exploration Operator and a revised work programme was agreed in place of the drill-or-drop obligation.

14-18 April 2018

Chevron publish the results of their polymer flood pilot scheme on Captain

Anette Polusen et al, publish SPE-190175-MS “Results of the UK Captain Field Interwell EOR Pilot” which details the results of a polymer flood pilot conducted on a lobe of the southern upper Captain sand. Two horizontal wells were drilled 125m apart. After an 18 month period of water injection, polymer flood recovered the total expected waterflood reserves within less than a year and within 18 months deliver a 16% uplift to expected waterflood recovery.

20 Jun 2018

The company is renamed Pharis Energy

We changed the name of the company as we wanted the flexibility to do something other than use thermal recovery schemes and Pharis was a townland near where the CEO was born. We couldn’t know that SOCO International would rename themselves Pharos Energy just a year later.

1 Dec 2018

P2244 continues into the second term

The OGA allows the P2244 licence to continue into the Second Term during which Orcadian plans to prepare a Field Development Plan for Pilot.

12 Dec 2018

Chevron approved stage 1 of a polymer flood on Captain

The Captain EOR project, which will involve the application of polymerised water injection technology, will boost production and help maximize economic recovery from the Captain Field, which has been in production since 1997. Stage 1 of the Captain EOR project will see drilling of up to six long-reach horizontal injection wells.

1 Jan 2019 – 23 Jul 2019

Shell invests in Orcadian

As part of a marketing arrangement for the oil to be produced from the Pilot field, Shell’s trading group loaned Orcadian Energy $1m.

5 Jun 2019

Elke licence P2482 awarded to Orcadian Energy (CNS)

Orcadian Energy is awarded a licence over the Elke and Narwhal discoveries. This licence substantially boosts the discovered oil in place on Orcadian’s licences.

1 Sep 2019

David Puckett, formerly OGA’s polymer specialist joins the Orcadian team

David Puckett who had been BP’s EOR R&D manager, and then the polymer specialist at the OGA, joined the Orcadian team to help us properly understand the potential benefits of using polymer flood technology on Pilot.

1 Sep 2019 – 1 Sep 2020

Pilot Concept Select study

Orcadian Energy engaged Crondall Energy, RDS (part of KCA Deutag) and Petrofac to prepare a Concept Select Report for Pilot. As part of this work we identified that a polymer flooding reservoir recovery mechanism gave the very best result economically and environmentally. The development concept comprises two wellhead platforms and an FPSO.

11 Nov 2019

Christian Wilms appointed as a non-Executive director of Orcadian Energy

Christian joined the Company having spent over 20 years working in the industry with Shell and MOL Group.  At Shell Christian held a number of leadership positions. After leaving Shell he joined MOL Group as Senior Vice President Subsurface & Field Development responsible for all development projects as well as supporting business development and exploration.

7 Sep 2020

Orcadian and Parkmead awarded blocks in the Outer Moray Firth

In partnership with Parkmead, Orcadian Energy is awarded a licence over the Fynn discoveries. This licence lies in the Outer Moray Firth midway between the Piper and Claymore fields.

1 Mar 2021

Joe Darby is appointed non-Executive Chairman of Orcadian

Joe Darby steps up to become the non-Executive chairman of Orcadian Energy, Joe brings a wealth of board level experience to the business.

1 Apr 2021

Pharis Energy changes name to Orcadian Energy

Orcadian Energy became the new name for our company. We had to rename ourselves as Pharis Energy was too close to Pharos Energy, which had been renamed from SOCO International in October 2019.

8 Apr 2021

Ithaca approves stage 2 of the Captain polymer flood, the subsea phase.

EOR Stage 2 is the next phase of development at the Captain Field and is building on the success of EOR Stage 1. The project is designed to significantly increase hydrocarbon recovery by injecting polymerised water into the reservoir through additional subsea wells, subsea infrastructure and new topsides facilities. Stage 1 of the project demonstrated that polymer EOR technology works, with the production response in line with or better than expected across all injection patterns.

1 May 2021

Tim Feather appointed non-Executive Director of Orcadian

We’re delighted to welcome Tim, who brings a wealth of corporate finance experience.

1 July 2021

CSR Addendum submitted to the OGA

Following completion of a polymer core flood work programme and an emissions reduction exercise Orcadian submitted a Concept Select Report Addendum to the OGA, in this Addendum we decided to eliminate the gas import pipeline and import electrical energy from a floating wind turbine.


15 July 2021

Orcadian Energy plc is listed on the AIM market

The entire share capital of Orcadian Energy plc was admitted to trading on AIM at 8:00am on the 15th July 2021, under the ticker ORCA.

29 Nov 2021

OGA issues “Letter of no objection”

We received a “Letter of no objection” from the Oil and Gas Authority (“OGA”) regarding the development concept for the Pilot field. This letter signals the finalisation of the “Assessment phase” and the entry into the “Authorisation phase” of development planning for the Pilot Field.

6 Dec 2021

Orcadian wins OGA Electrification Competition

Following a competitive process the Oil and Gas Authority (“OGA”)  selected Orcadian  to evaluate an approach to the electrification of North Sea oil and gas platforms which will dramatically cut carbon emissions. Orcadian’s partners in this work are Crondall Energy, Enertechnos, North Sea Midstream Partners, Petrofac and Wärtsilä.


13 Jun 2022

Draft FDP submitted to the NSTA

Following receipt of a “Letter of No Objection” to our selected concept at the end of November 2021, Orcadian Energy prepared a draft Field Development Plan for Pilot and submitted that to the NSTA in June 2022.

15 June 2022

Orcadian Energy licences seismic from TGS

Orcadian Energy licensed over 2,000 sq km of seismic over the Western Platform from TGS under an innovative royalty based commercial arrangement

23 June 2022

Orcadian Energy delivers report on carbon emissions solution for North Sea

Orcadian Energy on behalf of its partners Crondall, North Sea Midstream Partners, Petrofac, Enertechnos and Wärtsilä has delivered to NSTA a report on how to decarbonise existing production facilities.


8 December 2023

Orcadian Energy signs development farm-out deal with Ping Petroleum

Development farm-out deal which leaves Orcadian with an 18.75% carried interest in the Pilot development signed with Ping Petroleum UK plc


31 January 2024

Orcadian Energy offered two licences in 2nd tranche of 33rd round awards

Orcadian was offered a licence over the Fynn Beauly discovery with Parkmead as operator and a licence over gas prospects on the Mid North Sea High with Triangle as partner


31 March 2024

Farm out of Pilot to Ping completes

The farm out of an 81.25% interest in the Pilot licence to Ping petroleum UK plc completed. Orcadian retains an 18.75% interest carried to the first offload of production from the field.