Gannet area farm-out
Shell is to take on a share of the costs of exploring three UK North Sea prospects which could offer new potential in its core Gannet field area in the Central North Sea under a newly-signed equity deal.

Sterling Resources has signed a deal with Shell to farm out 40% of the Central North Sea P1792 licence are covering blocks 21/30f and 22/26c. The blocks – awarded under the UK's 26th offshore Licensing Round - contain three prospects,  Beverley, Belinda and Evelyn.

Shell will pay 20% of Sterling's remaining costs for seismic data on the blocks, and Sterling's share of an exploration well on the Beverley prospect within the licence.  Sterling will be operator on the exploration well.

As a result of the deal, Sterling will be left with 20% equity, Shell 40% and Valiant Petroleum 40% in the licence area. .

According to David Findlater, Sterling's vice president for exploration in the UK, Beverley could be the last undrilled salt diapir in the Central North Sea. He continued: “We believe it has significant potential given the drilling results of other analogous salt diapir structures in the Gannet area. Success could add to the existing Evelyn and Belinda discoveries to create a possible producing hub.”

Bringing Shell on board will bring both expertise in the Gannet region of the North Sea area and a carry on the costs of drilling an imminent Beverley exploration well, Findlater added.