Noble Resolute; Source: Noble Corporation

Noble’s decarbonization trump card: Sustainable diesel slashing rig’s CO2 emissions during North Sea drilling ops

Offshore drilling contractor Noble Corporation is determined to curb the carbon footprint of its drilling operations. During this decarbonization quest, the company is employing many different tools. One of these is sustainable diesel, which the rig owner uses in its fuel mix for drilling operations in Dutch waters.

Noble Resolute; Source: Noble Corporation

After achieving a new milestone in the fleetwide rollout of Energy Efficiency Insights (EEI) – a digital emission-monitoring solution, which became available on 20 rigs in its fleet – last year, Noble disclosed the use of sustainable diesel to curb CO2 emissions from the Noble Resolute, former Maersk Resolute, jack-up rig in the offshore region of the Netherlands.

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According to the company, this jack-up is the first-ever drilling rig to use “a significant share” of sustainable diesel in its fuel load to reduce CO2 emissions from drilling operations in Dutch waters. The offshore drilling giant explains that the rig has been operating with a fuel load containing 20% sustainable diesel (HVO) since the drilling campaign commenced in November 2023.

“Using this fuel blend will provide a CO2 emissions reduction of approximately 19%. The use of sustainable diesel is the result of an agreement between Petrogas and Noble, based on HVO tests previously conducted on Noble rigs. This effort is part of Noble’s 360-degree decarbonization model to reduce carbon intensity,” highlighted the rig owner.

With a maximum drilling depth of 30,000 ft, the 2009-built Noble Resolute is a 350 ft, Gusto-engineered MSC CJ50 high-efficiency jack-up rig, which was hired to plug and abandon a total of 31 wells in the Dutch North Sea in support of a rig sharing agreement between TotalEnergies EP Nederland and Petrogas E&P Netherlands before kicking off an amended scope of work with the latter.

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The rig is currently on a drilling assignment with Petrogas E&P in Dutch waters, thanks to these deals from 2022, including an amendment, under which a five-well drilling contract with an additional one-well option was set to replace an option included in the previously entered contract.

As a result, the rig was expected to be employed to drill three wells for Petrogas at the A15 field and two wells at the B10 field, both of which are located offshore the Netherlands. The amended drilling contract was slated to start in the first quarter of 2024, in direct continuation of the rig’s previous work scope, with an estimated duration of 188 days.

The minimum contract value of the deal is approximately $24.3 million, including an agreed fee for the use of the rig’s selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system, with provisions included to potentially increase the day rate depending on market conditions.

Noble secured multiple new deals recently, including a contract for one of its jack-up rigs with Wintershall Noordzee, a subsidiary of Germany’s Wintershall Dea, for plug and abandonment work in the Danish North Sea. The company also got a contract extension for one of its seventh-generation drillships in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

In addition, Noble and Petronas ironed out the details for a rig swap offshore Suriname a few weeks ago. After reviewing the available day rate information within Noble’s most recent fleet status report, Offshore Energy concluded that the Noble Valiant drillship was the company’s highest-paid rig in 2H 2023.

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The offshore drilling player also won more work for one of its semi-submersible rigs offshore Colombia, South America.