The Merlin team has carried several exploration and appraisal ventures all the way through into the operation phase, with over 40 well projects completed. We are proud to have delivered high levels of success for our clients, with 72% success rate for exploration wells, and 86% for appraisals. In all, five discoveries have now been developed, with a further now under development. The key steps are:

Once a decision to drill has been made, Merlin can support the well planning. We have often designed evaluation programmes for clients' wells, liaising with well engineers to tailor the well to the key sub-surface objectives, and defining the data acquisition programme. We are also experienced in the documentary requirements for UK drilling, and can prepare pre-drill data packs (PDDPs) for submission to authorities and well engineers.

The Merlin team has often acted as the client's 'in house' geoscience operations team, taking care of the many aspects of the planning and execution of exploration and appraisal wells, as described in the Operational Support section. Merlin has an enviable track record in the successful targeting and delivery of client exploration and appraisal wells.

Post-drill studies can take many forms. Merlin has conducted many such projects, which often focus on geological studies such as petrophysics, reservoir geology and stratigraphy. We frequently represent our clients with dealings with DECC, including post-drill PON9 submissions.

Geophysics can form a large part of the evaluation, with emphasis on the re-evaluation of the well-tie and a re-assessment of the penetration in the context of the drilled structure. Detailed seismic attribute studies can be carried out, supported by a fresh look at Rock Physics, in the light of the newly-acquired logs.

The Merlin team can provide guidance on additional seismic acquisition programmes, which need to provide cost-effective reduction of exploration risk. If necessary, we will liaise with our associate specialists, and third party companies, to work on detailed survey designs.