Transocean Encourage rig; Source: Transocean

Equinor ready to deploy Transocean rig for work in Norwegian Sea

Norwegian state-owned energy giant Equinor has received consent from Norway’s offshore safety regulator to use one of Transocean’s semi-submersible rigs on a field located in the Norwegian Sea.

Transocean Encourage rig; Source: Transocean

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) informed on Monday that it had given Equinor consent to use the Transocean Encourage rig for production drilling on the Åsgard field. The consent includes drilling and completion of production well 6506/12-P-3 BH (Blåbjørn) on the Åsgard field located in the production licence 094, which was awarded on 9 March 1984 and is valid until 10 April 2027.

Equinor is the operator of the licence with a 40.95 per cent stake, while its partners are Petoro (14.95 per cent), TotalEnergies E&P Norge (9.8 per cent), and Vår Energi (34.3 per cent). Transocean Encourage is a harsh-environment semi-submersible rig of GVA 4000 NCS design.

The 2016-built rig can accommodate up to 130 people. Originally, it received the Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in 2016 when it was called Songa Encourage. Following a change in rig ownership, Transocean applied for a new AoC and changed the name of the rig to Transocean Encourage. The new AoC was received in June 2019.

Transocean’s fleet status report from February 2023 shows that the rig’s latest contract with Equinor started in March 2022, with a day rate of $419,000. The day rate was due to change in March 2023 to $410,000, which would last until November 2023. As a reminder, Equinor extended multiple contracts in May 2022, including the one with Halliburton for work on the Transocean Encourage rig.

Located at Haltenbanken in the Norwegian Sea, about 200 kilometres from the Trøndelag coast and 50 kilometres south of the Heidrun field, the Åsgard field development concept includes the Åsgard A production vessel, the Åsgard B semi-submersible facility and the Åsgard C storage vessel. The field has been producing oil since May 1999 and gas since October 2000.

The Åsgard facilities currently receive oil and gas from seven different fields: Midgard, Smørbukk, Smørbukk South, Mikkel, Morvin, Smørbukk Northeast and Trestakk. Morvin – four wells and two subsea templates – and Mikkel – three wells and two subsea templates – are also tied into the infrastructure at Åsgard B.

The gas from the Åsgard field is routed by pipeline to Kårstø in Northern Rogaland county, where heavier components such as ethane, propane, butane and naphtha are separated out. From there, the dry gas is transported onward via the Europipe II pipeline to customers on the continent.