KCA Deutag in charge of electrification project enabling Equinor to get its first onshore powered rig

KCA Deutag’s Kenera business unit has been hired for a rig electrification project in Norway by the country’s state-owned energy giant Equinor.

Askepott rig; Source: Equinor

According to KCA Deutag, Kenera will carry out a project to electrify Equinor’s Askepott jack-up rig in Norway. This electrification project is expected to make the Askepott rig the first one in the Norwegian giant’s portfolio to be powered from onshore upon completion in 4Q 2024.

The rig will receive power from high voltage cabling via the Martin Linge A platform, which is already supplied with power from the shore through – what is said to be – the world’s longest alternating current cable located 42 kilometers west of the Oseberg field on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

Furthermore, the electrification of the Askepott rig is anticipated to enable energy-efficient drilling operations and provide significant decreases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Based on historical records and predicted calculations, the project is expected to result in a reduction of 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year when compared to running with traditional diesel generators.

Gordon Ronaldson, Senior Vice President, Kenera, commented: “This project to electrify Askepott will demonstrate the opportunities for rig electrification of assets across Equinor’s portfolio and indeed the wider sector as the industry looks to reduce total energy consumption and create more sustainable drilling operations.

The award is also an important milestone for Kenera, as we continue to focus upon decarbonization technologies and the energy transition. It will demonstrate and build industry confidence in our capability to electrify offshore and mobile assets.”

Kenera’s scope of work

Moreover, Kenera will convert the existing mud treatment room on Askepott to an electrical power room and install transformers, variable frequency drives (VFDs), and high-voltage switchboards certified to DNV classification requirements.

In addition, Kenera will provide a turnkey solution from initial procurement, detailed engineering, installation, and commissioning before handing the project over to Equinor and KCA Deutag’s team in Norway for the day-to-day operations onboard Askepott.

“This project is the next step in previous Kenera campaigns to reduce CO2 emissions which have included the energy optimization of both of Equinor’s Cat J rigs, the Askepott and Askeladden. These projects deployed CO2 and nitrogen oxides (NOx) reduction technologies as part of Equinor’s long-term low emissions strategy for 2050 and resulted in the elimination of more than 85% of NOx emissions,” highlighted KCA Deutag.

Back in 2013, Equinor, and its license partners in the Gullfaks and Oseberg area, acquired two rigs – named Askepott and Askeladden – while Samsung Heavy Industries and KCA Deutag got contracts for the construction and operation. At the time, arrangements were made for these rigs to be owned by the Gullfaks and Oseberg licensees, but operated by a drilling contractor.

The initial operation contract was for a period of eight years with the option to extend by 4×3 years. These two Cat J rigs are tailored to the conditions in the North Sea and specially designed to perform drilling operations on subsea development solutions in addition to conventional surface drilling from fixed platforms.

KCA Deutag has been busy securing new deals. Last month, Turan Drilling & Engineering, a joint venture between KCA Deutag and SOCAR AQS, got a long-term contract extension worth $300 million for the provision of offshore drilling operations and maintenance services across eight platforms in Azerbaijan.

This extension came a month after KCA Deutag got a contract extension with a total value of $60 million for the provision of drilling and maintenance services on two offshore platforms in Angola. Prior to this, the company won new contracts and extensions with a total value of over $70 million in the North Sea.