An eastern Mediterranean explorer is lining up to drill a new deepwater well early next year with support from a Norwegian contractor.

AGR Well Management will be providing support services for the Haga Qim 1 exploration well which is due to be drilled in Offshore Malta Area 4 with the Noble Paul Romano deepwater semi-submersible.

AGR has already been supporting the exploration programme through the provision of planning services for the forthcoming well and the Norwegian contractor is also due to provide further assistance during the drilling execution phase.

Maltese company Medserv Operations Limited has been awarded a contract to provide logistical base services to support the rig and all equipment required for the Hagar Qim 1 well – which is targeting a 109 million barrels of oil equivalent in a Lower Eocene/Paleocene reservoir at a depth of 2,500 metres – has been bought and well planning is on track for a spud date in the first quarter next year, according to partner Mediterranean Oil and Gas.

Drilling will be operated by MOG’s partner Genel Energy in area 4 offshore Malta, where MOG holds 25% equity through Phoenica Energy Company.

MOG is working on further exploration in the eastern Mediterranean in Offshore Malta area 3, where it holds 40% via Melita Exploration Company Limited and where the remaining 60% equity is held by Cairn Energy, through Capricorn Malta Limited.

After Cairn agreed on a two-year Exploration Study Agreement (ESA) for the area – which covers 6,400 square kilometres in the Sicily Channel north of Malta – in December last year, MOG reports that geological studies are planned along with the reprocessing of 2D data, and the acquisition of new 2D data. The ESA also provides for negotiation to convert the area to a production sharing contract and it can be extended for a third year to allow acquisition of 3D data.