Photo: West Hercules rig; Source: SFL Corporation

ExxonMobil hires rig for work in Canada

U.S. oil and gas giant ExxonMobil has awarded a deal for operations in Canada to a rig owned by SFL Corporation (SFL), which will be managed by the Norwegian drilling contractor, Odfjell Drilling. 

Odfjell Drilling announced the signing of a contract between ExxonMobil Canada and SFL Corporation on Friday for the Hercules semi-submersible rig. Thanks to a deal inked with SFL in May 2022, the Norwegian drilling contractor will replace Seadrill as the manager of this rig.

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This is the first contract to be signed for the 2008-built West Hercules rig since Odfjell Drilling entered into the marketing and management services agreement with SFL. The rig is expected to return to Norway in December 2022 when the Norwegian player will take over management of the rig on SFL’s behalf.

Kjetil Gjersdal, Chief Executive Officer of Odfjell Drilling, commented: “Since signing the management agreement with SFL for Hercules, we have worked hard to facilitate the rig being deployed on contract and are very pleased by today’s announcement.

“Similarly, we are delighted to be working with ExxonMobil on this new contract and to enter the key harsh environment market of Canada for the first time. The contract is an opportunity for Odfjell Drilling to further demonstrate its industry-leading harsh environment capabilities.”

Furthermore, the rig will undergo a scheduled special periodic survey in Norway before mobilisation to Canada to start its new contract with ExxonMobil in Q2 2023. This deal has a firm duration of around 135 days, with an extension option for approximately 60 days.

Seadrill’s fleet status report from late August shows that the West Hercules rig’s contract with Equinor in Canada was expected to be over in September even though the previous expectation was for it to end in October 2022.

However, a spokesperson for Equinor confirmed for Offshore Energy in late September that, after the return to Sitka drilling in August 2022, the company encountered operational challenges, which forced it to restart drilling operations.

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The firm did not comment on the effects of the delay on the duration of the rig’s contract, but the success of this campaign would boost resources at Equinor’s high-value development, Bay du Nord.