Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Aker BP all set to spud North Sea wildcat with Saipem rig

Norwegian oil and gas player Aker BP has secured a drilling permit from the country’s authorities for an exploration well in the North Sea off Norway. The drilling work is expected to be carried out using one of Saipem’s rigs.

Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) disclosed on Monday, 6 February 2023, that it had granted Aker BP a drilling permit for the well 25/4-15. This comes two months after Aker BP obtained consent for exploration drilling in block 25/4 in the North Sea from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA).

The programme for this well entails the drilling of a wildcat well in production licence 919, which was awarded on 2 March 2018 and is valid until 2 March 2027. As the operator of the licence, Aker BP has an ownership interest of 80 per cent, while its partner, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, holds the remaining 20 per cent.

The well is expected to be drilled in February 2023 and the water depth at the location is around 119 metres. The drilling operations will be carried out with Saipem’s Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig, thanks to a three-year deal, worth $325 million, which was awarded to Saipem in March 2022 for this rig. This contract, which includes two one-year extension options, was scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Scarabeo 8 is a sixth-generation dual derrick deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig capable of working in harsh environments with a dynamic positioning system and enhanced mooring capabilities. This rig can accommodate 140 people and its maximum drilling depth is 35,000 ft.

Regarding Aker BP’s recent activities, it is worth noting that the Norwegian player entered into drilling and wells alliance agreements in January 2023 with Noble Corporation, Odfjell Drilling and Halliburton to carry out drilling activities on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).