Transocean Enabler rig; Credit: Jan Arne Wold/Equinor

Green light for Vår Energi to kick off drilling ops with Transocean rig

Norwegian oil and gas player Vår Energi has received consent from Norway’s offshore safety regulator to use one of Transocean’s semi-submersible rigs on a field located in the Barents Sea.

Transocean Enabler rig; Credit: Jan Arne Wold/Equinor

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) recently revealed that it had given Vår Energi consent to use the Transocean Enabler rig for sidetrack drilling on the Goliat field in the Barents Sea, 50 kilometers southeast of the Snøhvit field. The water depth in the area is 360-420 meters.

The field was discovered in 2000, and the plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in 2009. Goliat is developed with a cylindrical floating production, storage, and offloading facility (FPSO) and eight subsea templates with a total of 32 well slots, which are tied back to the FPSO. Production started in 2016.

This consent comes weeks after Vår Energi and Equinor approved concept selection (DG2) for gas export from the Goliat oil and gas field to the Snøhvit pipeline for further transport to Hammerfest LNG. The project will contribute to positioning Goliat as an area hub for oil and gas resources from discoveries and prospects nearby.

Vår Energi intends to drill exploration and appraisal wells, along with certain production wells, over a two-year period starting from the last half of 2024. The objective covers the identification of additional petroleum resources near Goliat and Johan Castberg for maximum value creation and utilization of existing infrastructure and targeted exploration for new gas resources that can lead to developing new gas export infrastructure.

The Norwegian player is also pursuing decarbonization with offshore wind, as demonstrated by a collaboration with a consortium consisting of Odfjell Oceanwind and Source Galileo to explore opportunities for floating offshore wind through a pilot project, called GoliatVind, in the Barents Sea. Currently, the Goliat platform is electrified with power supplied from shore through a power cable with a capacity of 75 MW.

The 2016-built Transocean Enabler semi-submersible rig was constructed at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea as Songa Enabler. The rig was owned and operated by Songa Offshore prior to Transocean’s acquisition of the company in 2018. This rig is of GVA 4000 NCS design and can accommodate 130 people.

Currently, the rig is on an eight-year contract with Equinor that expires on April 1, 2024. However, the rig was awarded a 19-well contract in Norway a few months ago at a current rate of $377,000 per day, as adjusted for foreign currency exchange, plus eight-well options.

The rig’s new drilling assignment is also with Equinor at the Johan Castberg field and the total contract value is estimated at $415 million, with the fixed part accounting for $295 million. The new contract will come into effect between April 1, and July 1, 2024.