Deepsea Stavanger rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Equinor gets the all-clear for North Sea drilling ops

Norwegian state-owned energy giant Equinor has received consent from Norway’s offshore safety regulator for exploration drilling in the North Sea off Norway, using one of Odfjell Drilling’s rigs.

Deepsea Stavanger rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) revealed on Monday, 27 March 2023, that it had given Equinor consent for exploration drilling in block 31/2 in the North Sea. This comes weeks after the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) granted Equinor a drilling permit for a wildcat well 31/2-23 S and an appraisal well 31/2-23 A, which are expected to be drilled in April 2023. 

The prospect, Litago, is located in production licence 923, which was awarded on 2 March 2018 and is valid until 2 March 2025. As the operator of the licence, Equinor holds an ownership interest of 40 per cent, while its partners, DNO Norge, Petoro, and Wellesley Petroleum hold 20 per cent each. 

The water depth at the location is around 333 metres and the drilling operations at the wells 31/2-24 (top hole), 31/2-U-13 (pilot hole), and 31/2-23 S will be carried out with the Deepsea Stavanger rig, which received an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in April 2017.

 This rig has been working for Equinor on the NCS since February 2022, thanks to a deal awarded in May 2021 for a firm period of three wells. The Norwegian player added additional wells to the contract for this rig in September 2021March 2022May 2022, at the start and end of July 2022 and in late September 2022. These wells are expected to keep the rig booked into the fourth quarter of 2023.

The 2010-built Deepsea Stavanger rig is a sixth-generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible of an enhanced GVA 7500 design. It was designed for operations at water depths of up to 3,000 metres and has a 7,500 mt loading capacity.