Transocean Enabler rig; Credit: Jan Arne Wold/Equinor

Equinor preparing to spud Barents Sea wildcat with Transocean rig in spring

Norwegian state-owned oil and gas giant Equinor has secured a drilling permit from the country’s authorities for an exploration well in the Barents Sea. The drilling activities are expected to be undertaken using one of Transocean’s rigs in April 2024.

Transocean Enabler rig; Credit: Jan Arne Wold/Equinor

The Norwegian Offshore Directorate (NOD) has granted Equinor a drilling permit for a wildcat well 7220/2-2 in production license 1080, which was awarded on February 14, 2020, and is valid until February 14, 2027.

As the operator of the license, Equinor has an ownership interest of 50%, while its partners, Vår Energi and Petoro, hold the remaining 30% and 20%, respectively. The well 7220/2-2 is expected to be drilled with the Transocean Enabler rig.

The 2016-built Transocean Enabler semi-submersible rig was constructed at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea as Songa Enabler. The rig was owned and operated by Songa Offshore before Transocean acquired the company in 2018. This rig is of GVA 4000 NCS design and can accommodate 130 people.

Currently, the rig is on an eight-year contract with Equinor that expires on April 1, 2024. However, the rig was awarded a 19-well contract in Norway a few months ago at a current rate of $377,000 per day, as adjusted for foreign currency exchange, plus eight-well options.

The rig’s new drilling assignment is also with Equinor at the Johan Castberg field and the total contract value is estimated at $415 million, with the fixed part accounting for $295 million. The new contract will come into effect between April 1, and July 1, 2024.