Photo: Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Green light for Aker BP to kick off North Sea drilling ops with Saipem rig

Norwegian oil and gas player Aker BP has secured two types of permits from Norwegian authorities for drilling operations in the North  Sea off Norway, which will be carried out using one of Saipem’s semi-submersible rigs.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) informed on Thursday that it has granted Aker BP a drilling permit for well 25/10-17 S, while the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) disclosed earlier this week that it gave Aker BP consent for exploration drilling in block 25/10 in the North Sea, covering wells 25/10-17 S and 25/10-U-9.

The drilling programme for the well 25/10-17 S entails drilling a wildcat well in production licence 867, which was awarded on 14 February 2020 and is valid until 10 February 2026. Aker BP is the operator of the licence with an ownership interest of 80 per cent, while its partner, Lime Petroleum, holds the remaining 20 per cent interest.

Aker BP is targeting a prospect named Gjegnalunden and drilling operations, which will be conducted in water depths of 116 meters, are expected to start this month. The drilling will be done with Saipem’s Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig.

Back in March 2022, a three-year deal, worth $325 million, was awarded to Saipem for this rig. As disclosed at the time, this contract, which includes two one-year extension options, was scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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Scarabeo 8 is a dual derrick deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig capable of working in harsh environments with a dynamic positioning system and enhanced mooring capabilities.

Over the past few months, Aker BP has been putting the wheels into motion to progress some of its oil and gas projects and plans to submit PDOs for several of them by the end of the year.