Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Aker BP embarking on drilling ops with Saipem rig in Norwegian waters

Norwegian oil and gas player Aker BP has secured a drilling permit from the country’s authorities for two exploration wells in the Barents Sea off the coast of Norway. These drilling activities will be undertaken using one of Saipem’s semi-submersible rigs.

Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

The Norwegian Offshore Directorate (NOD) has granted a drilling permit for two wildcat wells, 7324/6-2 and 7324/8-4, in production license 1170, which was awarded on March 11, 2022, and is valid until March 11, 2030. Aker BP is the operator of the license with an ownership interest of 35%, while its partners – Equinor, Petoro, and Inpex Idemitsu Norge – hold the remaining 35%, 20%, and 10% interests, respectively.

While the first prospect, Ferdinand Nord (well 7324/6-2), is located at a water depth of 421 meters, the second one, Hassel (well 7324/8-4), lies at a water depth of 401 meters. The Norwegian Ocean Industry Authority (Havtil) granted Aker BP consent for exploration drilling of these wells in blocks 7324/6 and 7324/8 in March 2024.

The wells will be drilled with Saipem’s Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig, which was hired on a three-year deal, worth $325 million, in March 2022. The rig can accommodate 140 people and its maximum drilling depth is 35,000 ft. 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.

Another Norwegian player, Equinor, is gearing up to carry out more drilling operations in the Barents Sea in search of more hydrocarbons, as confirmed by a recent green light from Norway’s offshore safety regulator for production drilling/completion and drilling of exploration segment with one of Transocean’s rigs.