P2244: Pilot & Harbour


Block 21/27a
Orcadian Energy (CNS) Ltd, 100% and Operator
OperatorPing Petroleum UK plc
Licence awarded2014
Licence statusSecond term
Reserves79 mmbbls (2C Dev. Pending)
Contingent resources14 mmbbls (2C Dev. unclarified)
Oil gravity ˚API12˚-17˚
Reservoir oil viscosity160 to 1,200 cP
Permeability (Pilot)2 - 8 darcies
Porosity (Pilot)34%
The key asset on the licence is the Pilot field which has proven plus probable reserves of 79 mmbbls, in Eocene Tay sands. Pilot is very well appraised with 5 wells and 2 sidetracks and is development ready. The low salinity polymer flood scheme has an after tax NPV10 of $640 million at $60/bbl real.

Orcadian was awarded the P2244 licence in 2014 in the 28th licensing round. The licence is currently in the second term and contains the Pilot Main, Pilot South and Harbour discoveries. Pilot was discovered by Fina in 1989 after a successful well on the Harbour field which proved up mobile oil in the Eocene Tay sands.

These Tay sands have excellent reservoir properties with very good porosity and very high permeabilities.

The oil is viscous with API gravities ranging from 12º to 17º and reservoir viscosities which range from approximately 100 cP (like olive oil) to 1200 cP (like engine oil). A horizontal appraisal well in the most viscous region produced about 1,800 bopd. Whilst the oil is viscous, when compared to typical light oils in the North Sea, it is well within the limits where polymer flooding is considered to be effective.

We submitted a concept select report to the OGA in September 2020 and since then we have completed a polymer coreflood work programme, a polymer flood risk analysis, and emissions reduction studies. As part of that process we decided to include a floating wind turbine in the proposed development concept, the cost of this has been more than offset by the elimination of a gas import pipeline and the cost of the gas we would have purchased. We submitted a CSR Addendum to the OGA on the 1st July 2021 and the OGA provided us with a “Letter of No Objection” to our selected concept at the end of November 2021.

Sproule has audited our interpretation of the reservoir and the development scheme that we have proposed, and has endorsed our estimate that Pilot has 263 mmbbls of oil in place with proven plus probable reserves of 79 mmbbls based upon a low salinity polymer flood. The Pilot and Harbour fields have almost 15 mmbbls of additional technical or unaudited contingent resources which provide additional unrisked upside potential beyond the 3P estimate of 111 mmbbls.

P2244: Timeline
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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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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

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 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.