Deepsea Stavanger rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Equinor preparing to embark on drilling ops in North Sea

Norwegian state-owned oil and gas giant Equinor has secured a drilling permit from the country’s authorities for an exploration well in the North Sea off Norway. The drilling activities are expected to be undertaken using one of Odfjell Drilling’s rigs.

Deepsea Stavanger rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) reported on Thursday, November 16, 2023, that it had granted Equinor a drilling permit for a wildcat well 35/11-28 S in production license 248 C, which was awarded on April 9, 2013, and is valid until June 4, 2035.

As the operator of the license, Equinor has an ownership interest of 30%, while its partners, Petoro and Wellesley Petroleum, hold the remaining 40% and 30%, respectively. The well 35/11-28 S is expected to be drilled with the Deepsea Stavanger 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. While the rig’s contract started in February 2022, the Norwegian player 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. The rig is capable of working at water depths of up to 3,000 meters and has eight mooring lines. It can accommodate 157 people. The rig’s drilling depth capacity is 10,670 meters.