Deepsea Stavanger rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Equinor gets the all-clear signal for North Sea drilling ops

Norwegian state-owned energy giant Equinor has received consent from the country’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) has given Equinor consent for exploration drilling in block 35/11 in the North Sea, covering wells 35/11-26 S and 35/11-26 A. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) also handed out a drilling permit to the company for these wells.

The prospect, Crino/Mulder, is located in production licence 090, which was awarded on 9 March 1984 and is valid until 31 December 2040. Equinor is the operator of the licence with an ownership interest of 45 per cent, while its partners, Vår Energi, Inpex Idemitsu Norge, and Neptune Energy Norge, hold the remaining 25, 15, and 15 per cent interest, respectively.

The water depth at the location is around 356 metres. While the well 35/11-26 S is expected to be drilled in June 2023, the well 35/11-26 A is slated to be spud in July 2023. Both wells will be drilled with Odfjell Drilling’s Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig, which received an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in April 2017.

Equinor hired this rig in May 2021 for a firm period of three wells. The rig’s contract with the Norwegian player started in February 2022. The company added additional wells to the contract for the rig in September 2021March 2022May 2022, at the start and end of July 2022, September 2022, and May 2023. These wells are expected to keep the rig booked into the first quarter of 2024.

The 2010-built Deepsea Stavanger rig is a sixth-generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible of an enhanced GVA 7500 design. It is capable of working at water depths of up to 3,000 metres. It has eight mooring lines and can accommodate 157 people. The rig’s drilling depth capacity is 10,670 metres.