Equinor hires Seadrill rig for work on Bacalhau field off Brazil

Offshore drilling contractor Seadrill has secured a four-year firm contract with four one-year options, for the West Saturn drillship with Norwegian oil major Equinor in Brazil.

West Saturn drillship; Source: Seadrill

Seadrill said on Tuesday that the contract was awarded by Equinor’s subsidiary Equinor Brasil Energia Ltda for work on the Bacalhau offshore field.

The total value for the firm portion of the contract is expected to be approximately $380 million which includes mobilization, upgrades, and integrated services revenue. There is also a performance bonus for added incentive.

The total contract value is contingent on the final investment decision by the partnership for Bacalhau. The start of operations is expected in the first quarter of 2022.

According to Seadrill, the West Saturn’s existing managed pressure drilling (MPD) system will receive further upgrades and enhancements in safety, efficiency, and environmental control.

Human factor safety enhancements to red zone management will be automated using AI-enabled safety technology Vision IQ.

The efficiency of the drillship will be further enhanced through Seadrill’s Plato Performance solution, driving continuous improvement in repetitive drilling activities whilst delivering consistent process execution and optimization of the drilling program with improved safety. 

In line with Seadrill’s efforts to reduce emissions, the fuel consumption of the West Saturn is expected to be reduced by between 10-15 per cent with the introduction of a combined hydrogen and methanol injection system along with other energy efficiency upgrades.

Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are expected to reduce by between 10-15 per cent, and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions will decrease between 30-80 per cent.

Seadrill’s CEO Stuart Jackson said: “This further broadening of our long-standing relationship with Equinor is a testament to the experience and consistent operational excellence of our team.

The West Saturn’s planned upgrades are a key development in Seadrill’s innovation pipeline, as the adoption of new technologies will improve drilling efficiency and reduce the environmental footprint of Seadrill and our clients”.

As for the rig, the West Saturn is a 6th generation ultra-deepwater drillship, built in 2014 and equipped to drill in water depths of up to 12,000 feet (3600 meters).

It is worth stating that Equinor is the operator of the Bacalhau field with a 40 per cent stake while ExxonMobil and Petrogal hold 40 and 20 per cent each. Pré-sal Petróleo, a non-investor Government agency, is also a partner in the field.