Photo: Transocean Norge; Source: DNV GL

Equinor to use Transocean rig on Gullfaks well duo

Norwegian oil major Equinor has received consent from the offshore safety body, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), for drilling and well operations on the Gullfaks field using the Transocean Norge drilling rig.

PSA said on Wednesday that the Transocean Norge would work on the 34/10-O-3 and 34/10-O-4 wells located on the Gullfaks field in the North Sea. The field is in production licence 050 operated by Equinor.

Gullfaks is a field in the Tampen area in the northern part of the North Sea. The water depth is 130-220 metres. It was discovered in 1978, and the plan for development and operation (PDO) for Gullfaks Phase I was approved in 1981. A PDO for Gullfaks Phase II was approved in 1985 with first production from the field achieved in 1986.

The field has been developed with three integrated processing, drilling and accommodation platforms with concrete bases named Gullfaks A, B, and C).

Source: NPD
Gullfaks; Source: NPD

Gullfaks B has a simplified processing plant with first stage separation while the other two platforms receive and process oil and gas from Gullfaks Sør and Visund Sør. The field facilities are also involved in production and transport from the Tordis, Vigdis, and Visund fields.

In 2020, an amended PDO for the development of the Hywind Tampen wind farm was approved. The wind farm will consist of 11 floating turbines which will supply electricity to the Snorre and Gullfaks fields. The Snorre and Gullfaks platforms will be the first platforms in the world to receive power from a floating wind farm.

As for the rig, the Transocean Norge, formerly known as West Rigel, is a semi-submersible drilling rig of the MMCS60 type.

Transocean became the owner of the rig through an acquisition in May 2019. The rig was originally ordered at the Jurong yard by a Seadrill subsidiary, North Atlantic Drilling Limited, but was never delivered. The Transocean Norge was built at Jurong between 2012 and 2016.

Just last week, Equinor received consent from the PSA to use the rig for drilling and well operations on the Oseberg field.