Photo: Noble Lloyd Noble (to be renamed Shelf Drilling Barsk) jack-up rig; Source: Jamie Baikie/Equinor

All-systems-go for Equinor to deploy Shelf Drilling rig at North Sea oil & gas field

Norwegian state-owned energy giant Equinor has received consent from the country’s offshore safety regulator to use one of Shelf Drilling’s jack-up rigs for drilling activities at a field in the North Sea off Norway.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) revealed earlier this week that it had given Equinor consent to use the Noble Lloyd Noble jack-up rig for production drilling on the Gina Krog field in production licenses 029C and 048.

The Noble Lloyd Noble jack-up rig was bought by Shelf Drilling and will be renamed Shelf Drilling Barsk. This rig was sold as part of Noble’s efforts to remedy competition concerns related to its merger with Maersk Drilling, which was concluded in 2022.

When one of the rig’s previous drilling campaigns with Equinor was secured in September 2020, the Norwegian giant described this rig as “the world’s tallest jack-up rig,” which can stand on the seabed in up to 150 metres of water under tough weather conditions.

Located on the Utsira High in the central part of the North Sea, just north of the Sleipner Vest field, the Gina Krog field was discovered in 1978, and the plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in 2013. The water depth in the area is 110-120 metres and the field is developed with a fixed platform with living quarters and processing facilities. The oil and gas production from the field started in 2017.

The Gina Krog platform is tied into Sleipner A and uses processing capacity on the platform and existing pipelines for sending the gas to the market in Europe. The liquid is transported by a tanker, and the gas via the Sleipner field.

Located in the North Sea, the Sleipner area encompasses three gas and condensate fields – Sleipner ØstGungne and Sleipner Vest – and processes hydrocarbons from the tie-in fields: Sigyn, Volve, Gudrun and gas from Gina Krog.

The area consists of four platforms: Sleipner A (a processing, drilling and living quarters platform), Sleipner R (a riser platform for gas export and condensate export), Sleipner T (a processing and CO2 removal platform), and Sleipner B (an unmanned production platform).

Regarding Equinor’s latest activities, it is worth noting that the Norwegian player made a new commercial gas discovery recently in the Norwegian Sea.

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This is the first discovery made on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) in 2023.