Transocean Encourage rig; Source: Transocean

Go-ahead for Equinor to embark on drilling activities with Transocean rig

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 two fields located in the North Sea and Norwegian Sea, respectively.

Transocean Encourage rig; Source: Transocean

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) informed on November 30, 2023, that it had given Equinor consent to use the Transocean Encourage rig for production drilling at the Vigdis field in the North Sea and the Tyrihans Sør field in the Norwegian Sea.

Located in the Tampen area in the northern part of the North Sea, between the Snorre, Statfjord, and Gullfaks fields, the Vigdis field is situated at a water depth of 280 meters. This field was discovered in 1986, and the plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in 1994. Vigdis has been developed with seven subsea templates and two satellite wells connected to the Snorre A platform. The production started in 1997.

On the other hand, the Tyrihans field is located in the Norwegian Sea, 25 kilometers southeast of the Åsgard field. The water depth in the area is 270 meters and the field was discovered in 1983. After the PDO was approved in 2005, the field was developed with five subsea templates tied back to the Kristin field, four templates for production and gas injection, and one template for seawater injection. The gas for injection and gas lift is supplied from the Åsgard B platform. The field came on stream in 2009.

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.

Equinor extended multiple contracts in May 2022, including the one with Halliburton for work on the Transocean Encourage rig, which is currently on a nine-well contract with the Norwegian state-owned energy giant.

The rig’s new drilling program entails spinning the drill bit on the Tyrihans, VerdandeAndvare, and Vigdis fields, with Verdande and Andvare expected to be tied into the Norne field. This drilling program may be further extended to add six more wells.