The Company operates three producing oilfields in the East Midlands - a 100% working interest in both the West Firsby and Crosby Warren fields and a 65% interest in Whisby. Overall daily production is stable at approximately 180 barrels of oil, all of which is transported by tanker to the refinery at Immingham in NE Lincolnshire. Current 2P producing reserves are estimated at 0.65 mmbo.
The West Firsby Field, which commenced production in 1991 and is 15km north of Lincoln, is the main operating base with two wells producing oil using a jet pump system. The Crosby Warren field started production in 1987 and is located in the grounds of the steelworks at Scunthorpe. Two production wells operate here on traditional beam pumps or 'nodding donkeys', producing between 35-50bopd. The Whisby well, which is just to the west of Lincoln at Whisby, was first drilled by Europa in early 2003 and produces between 85-90bopd gross via a beam pump (approximately 50bopd net to Europa).
Ongoing reservoir engineering studies are being undertaken on Europa's UK producing assets to determine future work programmes and investment levels.
Europa operates a number of exploration licences in the UK involving both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon prospects:
Conventional Oil and Gas
In August 2010, Europa was awarded two licences by the UK Coal Authority to investigate the potential for underground coal gasification ('UCG') of virgin coals located near offshore, along the eastern coast of England. These licences are situated in areas with deep coal measures, little structural complexity and close proximity to existing gas and utility infrastructure. The licences adjoin Europa's existing concessions in the east Midlands and run for an initial three year term. Europa has a 90% interest in the licence with Oxford Energy Consulting Limited holding the remaining 10%.
UCG is a developing technology that recovers up to 80% of the calorific value of in situ coal by a process involving controlled combustion. UCG, when combined with CO2 storage in the depleted coal seams, creates a source of energy which rivals nuclear for low emissions and has lower unit costs than conventional gas-fired power stations.
With only 30% utilisation rate for the coals, the estimated potential UCG energy resource in these two licence areas is 36EJ or 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Europa holds licences covering an area of over 600 sq km in the Humber Basin that have the potential to hold significant shale gas resources held in Carboniferous basinal black marine shales known to be 120m thick in the region.
Shale is a fine-grained common sedimentary rock composed of mud that is in turn made up of flakes of clay and other minerals such as quartz and calcite. Black shales are as the name implies dark, largely as a result of being rich in unoxidized carbon. Shale gas is a natural gas held in shale rock formations. As shale rock has a low level of permeability, hydrocarbons are prevented from finding their way to well bores in commercial quantities. Fractures are therefore necessary for the gas to be released. These can occur naturally but technological advancements in hydraulic fracturing in recent years have meant that extensive artificial fractures around well bores can be created to access the gas.
Over the past decade, shale gas has become an increasingly important source of natural gas around the world, most notably in the United States. US shale gas production has increased dramatically in recent years and has in the process fundamentally transformed the country from being a net importer of hydrocarbon fuels to the cusp of becoming a net exporter.