Noble Innovator jack-up rig; Source: Noble Corporation

Noble rig becomes ‘largest ever vessel’ to visit Aberdeen, as it gets ready for decom gig with BP

A Noble Corporation-owned jack-up rig, sporting legs more than 200 metres in height, has become “the largest ever vessel” to visit the UK’s Port of Aberdeen, as it embarks on a special periodic survey and preparations for its decommissioning assignment with BP.

Noble Innovator jack-up rig; Source: Noble Corporation

The Scottish port revealed over the weekend that the Noble Innovator offshore rig had arrived at the new £400 million Aberdeen South Harbour for a 60 – 90 day period of maintenance. Once the maintenance is completed, the Noble Innovator rig will start its contract with BP for decommissioning work in the central North Sea. This deal was secured in December 2022.

Claus Bachmann, VP of Operations, Noble Corporation, remarked: “We are excited that the new South Harbour facilities have made it possible for one of our rigs to visit Aberdeen for the first time ever. The Noble Innovator is stopping by for a so-called special periodic survey which rigs must undergo every five years to ensure that we are able to operate safely, and which will involve multiple local suppliers in the extensive maintenance scope.” 

With a firm duration of one year, the deal with BP is expected to start in May 2023. The firm contract value is approximately $50 million, however, the contract also contains a one-year option with a potential contract value of around $58 million.

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The Scottish port further says that the maintenance work scope for this rig will benefit Aberdeen’s economy and job creation through a multi-million-pound investment in local contract awards, where selected vendors will support the maintenance work such as diving, welding, inspection, painting, scaffolding, accommodation, catering, logistics and many more. 

Doris Reiter, Senior Vice President, BP North Sea, commented: “The business decisions BP is taking today continue to positively impact the economy of Aberdeen, as they have for nearly 60 years. Our contract with Noble supports the supply chain to seize opportunities on our doorstep and demonstrate its world-class decommissioning capabilities.” 

The 2003-built Noble Innovator jack-up rig is of Gusto MSC CJ 70 – 150 MC design. It was constructed at Hyundai Heavy Industries Ulsan in Korea. It can accommodate 120 people. This jack-up rig was previously known as Maersk Innovator, however, after the business combination between offshore drilling contractors, Noble Corporation and Maersk Drilling, was completed in October 2022 all rigs in Maersk Drilling’s fleet become part of the Noble fleet with newly assigned names.

According to Port of Aberdeen, operations at South Harbour are well underway with very high utilisation of berths and the operational quayside areas to date. This comes as Aberdeen turns into “an attractive location” for larger vessels from a range of industries, including oil and gas, renewables, decommissioning, cargo and cruise, based on the port’s statement. The construction of South Harbour is scheduled to be completed in 2Q 2023, making Aberdeen the largest berthage port in Scotland. 

Roddy James, Chief Commercial Officer, Port of Aberdeen, said: “It’s exciting to welcome new types and sizes of vessels to the port, be that from oil and gas, renewables, cargo, or cruise. South Harbour’s tidally unrestricted deepwater berths, extensive laydown space and heavy lift capacity, make Aberdeen an attractive option for larger vessels.  

“The expanded Port of Aberdeen, across North Harbour and South Harbour, now offers customers even greater flexibility for their projects, with a focus on reducing risk, adding value, and minimising cost.”