Photo: COSLPioneer rig; Source: COSL Drilling

Ithaca selects COSL Drilling rig for North Sea gig

Offshore rig operator COSL Drilling Europe has been awarded a contract by Ithaca Energy for operations on the Abigail well and the Captain phase II subsea development in the central North Sea on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

Announcing the contract on Friday, COSL Drilling Europe said it will be utilizing its 6th Generation harsh environment semi-submersible drilling unit, the COSLPioneer, for this contract. The rig is currently being mobilized for another UK operator for a short drilling campaign prior to the beginning of the Ithaca Energy contract.

The beginning is set for March 2022 and the drilling campaign has a combined work scope with an estimated duration of up to 2Q 2024. No details about the value of the contract have been revealed.

As part of ongoing mobilization, the rig will be modernized with COSL Energy Control System, converting the unit into a low emission sixth-generation drilling unit. This will set a new benchmark in the industry representing the lowest fuels consumption and carbon footprint seen to date for these types of units, according to COSL.

Frank Tollefsen, CEO of COSL Drilling Europe, said: “We will together set a new standard when it comes to low-emission and efficient drilling operation”.

Tollefsen also pointed out that the installation of an advanced system for energy control on the company’s rigs will provide a reduction up to 25-50 per cent on already very low fuel consumption levels, helping the operators reach their climate goals.

When it comes to Ithaca’s projects, the company applied to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for consent for the development of the Abigail field, located 145 miles from the Scottish coastline, in November 2020. The company also filed an application with the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) in relation to the Abigail field development and submitted the environmental statement for the project.

Abigail is a phased subsea development with phase 1 consisting of a single subsea well and subsea tie-back to Ithaca’s FPF-1 facility and phase 2 will include the drilling and tie-in of a second production well.

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Ithaca sanctioned the Captain Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Stage 2 project in April 2021. This is the next phase of development at the Captain field designed to significantly increase hydrocarbon recovery by injecting polymerised water into the reservoir through additional subsea wells, subsea infrastructure, and new topsides facilities.

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The Captain field was discovered in 1977, in Block 13/22a located on the edge of the outer Moray Firth. The billion-barrel field achieved its first production in March 1997. The installation comprises a wellhead protector platform and bridge linked platform connected to an FPSO vessel.

Captain crude oil is offloaded from the FPSO offloading vessel to a dynamically positioned shuttle tanker and transported to customers. Captain gas is exported (and imported) via subsea pipeline to the Frigg UK Gas Transportation System and then on to St Fergus gas terminal.