New North Sea gig for Shelf Drilling jack-up rig

Offshore drilling contractor Shelf Drilling has been awarded a new contract for one of its jack-up rigs by CNOOC Petroleum Europe Limited for operations on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

Shelf Drilling Fortress jack-up rig; Source: Shelf Drilling

Shelf Drilling revealed on Wednesday, 2 August 2023, that a subsidiary of Shelf Drilling North Sea (SDNS) had secured a contract for the Shelf Drilling Fortress (former Noble Sam Hartley) jack-up rig with CNOOC for operations at its Golden Eagle platform, which is located about 111 kilometres northeast of Aberdeen in the UK Central North Sea. It produced its first oil in 2014.

CNOOC Petroleum Europe Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, is the operating partner of Golden Eagle (36.54 per cent), with EnQuest Heather Limited (26.69 per cent), NEO Energy Production UK Limited (31.56 per cent) and ONE-Dyas UK Limited (5.21 per cent) also holding interests in the field and its facilities. 

According to the offshore drilling player, the firm term of the contract covers two wells and the work is expected to take between four and five months. The contract value for the firm period is approximately $17 million. This deal also comes with options for additional wells with a total estimated duration of 13 months. The planned start-up of operations is slated for September 2023.

The Noble Sam Hartley rig, which was bought by Shelf Drilling to be renamed Shelf Drilling Fortress, was sold as part of Noble’s efforts to remedy competition concerns related to its merger with Maersk Drilling, which was concluded in 2022. This rig previously worked for TotalEnergies in the North Sea.

The 2014-built Shelf Drilling Fortress jack-up rig is of Friede & Goldman JU-3000N design and can accommodate around 150 people. With a maximum drilling depth of 35,000 feet, it is capable of working in water depths of 400 feet.

Shelf Drilling secured multiple new contracts and extensions since the start of 2023. The firm believes that the growing rig demand in Asia will push day rates to higher levels, boosting the rig market’s jack-up segment.