Independent Oil and Gas (IOG), the North Sea focused oil and gas company, has signed a rig contract with Transocean Drilling procuring the Transocean John Shaw semi-submersible rig to drill an appraisal well on the Skipper oil discovery in the UK sector of the North sea, Oil Voice reported.

IOG is to commence drilling in the first two months of 2016 to retrieve oil samples and design an optimum Skipper field development plan.

The Skipper field is an offshore heavy oil reserve with the estimated capacity of 26m barrels of oil, according to independent sources, however, IOG evaluates the capacity at the level of 34.1m barrels.

According to Offshore Post, IOG CEO, Mark Routh, said: “This allows us to drill the Skipper well in the New Year which will enable us to optimise the Skipper Field Development Plan in addition to targeting two exploration prospects at low cost.”

The Skipper fields is currently owned jointly by IOG and Alpha Petroleum.