This paper was prepared for the 96th Annual AIME Meeting to be held in Los Angeles, Calif., Feb. 19 through 23, 1967. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY or the SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL is usually granted upon requested to the Editor of the appropriate journal, provided agreement to give proper credit is made.

Discussion of this paper is invited. Three copies of any discussion should be sent to the Society of Petroleum Engineers Office. Such discussions may be presented at the above meeting and, with the paper, may be considered for publication in one of the two SPE magazines.

Abstract

American Overseas Petroleum Limited, operator for Texaco North Sea U. K. Limited and California Oil Company Limited, drilled the first well - 38/29-1 - on the U. K. Continental Shelf after leases were issued in 1964. This well is the farthest offshore operation yet attempted and was drilled through the severe 1964 winter. The detailing of the preplanning and actual drilling of this first well is presented to offer assistance to Industry not only for the North Sea basin but also for other new offshore areas. It is the conclusion of the operator that year-round drilling can be carried out in the North Sea; however, preplanning is necessary - allowance must be made for weather induced delays - and recognition must be taken of possible leg scour problems resultant from the combination of ocean floor currents and type formation.

There have been many recent news items regarding the oil industries' successful activities on the U.K. Continental Shelf - happily one of such in October 1966 reported a gas discovery by American Overseas Petroleum Limited acting as managing agent for Texaco North Sea U. K. Limited and California Oil Company Limited on Block 48/7. However, the specific well to be discussed, Amoseas 38/29-1, garnered more publicity than any other U. K. offshore well drilled to date - and it was dry! This publicity reflected the fact that 38/29-1 was the first offshore well to be drilled on the U. K. Continental Shelf after the Shelf leases were issued by the U. K. Government in Fall 1964. This paper discusses the preplanning and actual drilling of this first well. It is the author's hope that providing such a detailed discussion of both preplanning and actual results will be of assistance to industry in evaluating the operational problems to be anticipated in such new offshore areas. For the back round behind the spudding of well 35/29-1 almost at the geographical mid-point of the North Sea on December 2, 1964, one must refer back to 1959. It was in August 1959 that Slochteren #1 discovered The Netherlands Groningen gas field now credited with reserves in excess of 50 trillion cu. ft. of natural gas.

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