Aker BP gets the all-clear to use Maersk rig on North Sea field

Aker BP receives the all-clear to use Maersk rig in North Sea

Norwegian oil and gas company Aker BP has received consent from Norway’s offshore safety regulator to use one of the Maersk Drilling-owned rigs for well intervention work on a field in the North Sea off Norway.

Valhall field; Source: Aker BP

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) revealed on Tuesday that it had given Aker BP consent to use the Maersk Integrator rig for well intervention activities on the Valhall Flanke West field. This comes only a month after the firm obtained approval for the same rig to carry out activities on the Valhall Flanke Nord field.

Maersk Integrator rig; Source: Maersk Drilling
Maersk Integrator rig; Source: Maersk Drilling

The 2014-built Maersk Integrator jack-up drilling rig was delivered by the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore and it received an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in June 2015. This rig is an MSC CJ70-X150-MD, designed for year-round operation in the North Sea, based on the design of the Maersk Innovator and the Maersk Inspirer rigs.

The Valhall is located in the southern part of the  Norwegian sector of the North Sea at a water depth of 70 metres. Valhall was discovered in 1975, and the initial plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in 1977. Originally, the field was developed with three facilities for accommodation (QP), drilling (DP) and processing (PCP).

The production at the field started in 1982 and the Valhall area consists of a field centre with five platforms connected by bridges, and four wellhead platforms that are remotely controlled from the field centre. The field is powered by electricity from shore.

The Valhall Flank developments are two identical unmanned wellhead platforms each equipped with 16 drilling slots and located about six kilometres from the existing Valhall facilities where the well streams are processed. The South Flank started production in 2003, and the North Flank came on stream in 2004.

Back in 2007, a PDO for Valhall redevelopment was approved, including an accommodation and processing platform (PH) to replace ageing facilities on the field. The PH platform is supplied with power from shore while a PDO for Valhall Flank West was approved in 2018, entailing a normally unmanned wellhead platform. 

Aker BP and Maersk Drilling entered into a Heads of Agreement, estimated at around $1 billion, in December 2021 to renew and extend the frame agreement that establishes the latter as the firm’s jack-up rig drilling partner.

In January 2022, the two players agreed to a rig swap, whereby the jack-up rig Maersk Reacher was to be replaced by the low-emission Maersk Integrator jack-up rig offshore Norway in end-February/early March 2022.

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As a result, the Maersk Integrator rig will be busy until January 2023 with well intervention and stimulation activities at Aker BP’s Valhall and Hod fields.

When it comes to Aker BP’s latest developments, it is worth noting that the oil and gas firm received approval from the Norwegian authorities for the Frosk field’s PDO last month, which will enable the firm to fast-track the development to achieve the first oil 18 months after the PDO submission.