Depsea Yantai rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Go-ahead for two oil & gas firms to drill in North Sea with Odfjell rigs

Two oil and gas companies – Aker BP and Neptune Energy – have received consent from Norway’s offshore safety regulator for exploration drilling in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, using two Odfjell Drilling’s semi-submersible rigs.

Depsea Yantai rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) recently gave Aker BP and Neptune Energy consent for exploration drilling in blocks 30/11 and 36/7, respectively. Aker BP’s prospect, Krafla Midt Statfjord HPHT, is located in production licence 035, which was awarded on 14 November 1969 and is valid until 31 December 2023.

Aker BP has an ownership interest of 50 per cent and acts as the operator of the licence, while its partner, Equinor, holds the remaining 50 per cent. The water depth at the location is around 106.5 metres and the consent includes the drilling of the well 30/11-15.

This will be carried out with the Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig, which received an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in April 2017. Equinor hired this rig in May 2021 for a firm period of three wells. The rig’s contract with the Norwegian player started in February 2022.

Furthermore, the company added additional wells to the contract for the rig in September 2021March 2022May 2022, at the start and end of July 2022, September 2022, and May 2023. These wells are expected to keep the rig booked into the first quarter of 2024.

The 2010-built Deepsea Stavanger rig is a sixth-generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible of an enhanced GVA 7500 design. It is capable of working at water depths of up to 3,000 metres. It has eight mooring lines and can accommodate 157 people. The rig’s drilling depth capacity is 10,670 metres.

On the other hand, Neptune Energy’s Cerisa prospect in production licence 636, which was awarded on 3 February 2012 and is valid until 22 February 2024, is situated in a water depth of 335 metres. Neptune is the operator of the licence with a 30 per cent stake while its partners are Inpex Idemitsu Norge (30 per cent), PGNiG Upstream Norway (30 per cent), and Sval Energi (10 per cent).

The drilling of the well 36/7-5 S will be done by the Deepsea Yantai semi-submersible rig, which Odfjell Drilling manages on behalf of CIMC Offshore. The 2019-built Deepsea Yantai rig, which is capable of harsh environment operation, is of a GM4D design. The rig – formerly known as the Beacon Atlantic – is expected to work for DNO Norge in 2Q/3Q 2023 and drill one firm well in the North Sea.

This semi-sub has several jobs lined up for 2023 and the most recent one was disclosed with ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, which will see the rig drill one firm well with the option to drill two further wells in PL 891 in the Norwegian Sea. Neptune Energy also extended the contract for the use of this rig for two firm wells in Norway.