Aker BP gets all-clear to drill North Sea prospect 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.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) disclosed on Tuesday, 21 February 2023, that it had granted Aker BP a drilling permit for the well 25/2-24 S. This comes a week after Aker BP obtained consent for exploration drilling in block 25/2 – covering the drilling of pilot hole 25/2-U-12 and three optional side tracks: 25/2-24 AY1, 25/2-24 AY2 and 25/2-24 B – in the North Sea from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA).
The programme for the well 25/2-24 S entails drilling an appraisal well in production licence 873, which was awarded on 10 February 2017 and is valid until 10 February 2026. Aker BP is the operator of the licence with an ownership interest of 47.7 per cent, while its partners, Equinor, and Lotos Exploration and Production Norge, hold the remaining 40 and 12.3 per cent interest, respectively.
The prospect, Øst Frigg Beta, is expected to be drilled in February 2023 and the water depth at the location is around 110 metres. The drilling operations for the well 25/2-24 S will be carried out with the Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig, which was hired on a three-year deal, worth $325 million, in March 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.