- Independent Oil and Gas has completed its first operated appraisal well on the Skipper oil discovery which lies in Block 9/21a in licence P1609 in the northern North Sea which will now be plugged and abandoned.

IOG - which is 100% owner and operator - said well was successfully drilled to a total vertical depth of 5,578ft with no safety incidents and achieved its primary objective of retrieving good quality reservoir condition oil samples from the Skipper reservoir in order to optimise the Skipper field development plan.

The oil viscosity of the samples appears likely to be within the 50cP - 150cP range expected by the IOG management, much better than competent person's report estimates.

The samples are now being analysed in Aberdeen, with initial results expected in September 2016. Should these properties be confirmed the development of the Skipper field will require fewer development wells thereby improving the development economics.

The well's secondary objective, to drill two mapped reservoir structures beneath the Skipper oil field in the Lower Dornoch and Maureen formations is now complete.

The well did not encounter hydrocarbons in these horizons and will now be plugged and abandoned.

The initial licence commitment on P1609 is to drill a well into the Maureen formation to a minimum depth of 1,700m (5,578ft). This commitment has now been fulfilled.

Chief executive Mark Routh said: "We are extremely pleased to have achieved drilling success at the Skipper well, our first operated well. We are encouraged by the good quality oil samples retrieved, the well's primary objective. Initial observations strongly suggest we have a better oil viscosity than the CPR estimates.

"Whilst the exploration prospects did not encounter hydrocarbons, I am increasingly confident that the commerciality of the Skipper field has been confirmed now that we have the data we need to progress to the field development planning."

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