North Sea explorer i3 Energy is on the cusp of what it hopes will be a “game changing” drilling campaign.
The Westhill-based firm’s boss said the programme could “transform” i3 into one of the “more significant oil producers” in the UK.
The Borgland Dolphin rig will drill a pilot production well on the Liberator field in the outer Moray Firth.
It will also drill appraisal wells on the Liberator West extension and the Serenity prospect.
The 94-day campaign is expected to start in July or August.
The company believes its portfolio is capable of producing about 200 barrels of oil equivalent.
It is working towards a final investment decision on Liberator this year, with first oil slated for 2020.
The oilfield could be developed as a tieback to the Bleo Holm vessel, which is on lease to Repsol Sinopec Resources UK.
Chief executive Majid Shafiq said: “After over two years of hard work we look forward to completing our junior loan note facility and to an exciting summer drilling program which we hope will ultimately transform our company into one of the more significant oil producers in the UKCS.”
Mr Shafiq took on the role last year following co-founder Neill Carson’s decision to vacate the top post.
Mr Carson is now a non-executive director at the firm, which reported operating losses of £2.37 million in 2018.
Launched in 2014, the firm is named i3 because its directors were formerly involved with other North Sea companies starting with the letter “i” – Ithaca Energy and Iona Energy.