Deepsea Aberdeen rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Odfjell Drilling rig staying in Norway until Q3 2026 with eight new wells added to backlog

Norwegian state-owned energy giant Equinor has prolonged the assignment of an Odfjell Drilling-owned semi-submersible rig on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) by adding more wells to the rig’s backlog.

Deepsea Aberdeen rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

According to the Aberdeen-based offshore drilling player, Equinor has exercised an option for a batch of eight wells to extend the use of the Deepsea Aberdeen rig in Norwegian waters. The work related to this extension is planned to start in the fourth quarter of 2025 in direct continuation of the current firm period, extending the rig’s firm backlog to the third quarter of 2026.

Kjetil Gjersdal, Chief Executive Officer of Odfjell Drilling, commented: “We are pleased to see the exercise of further options for the use of the Deepsea Aberdeen, which has been on a continuous contract with Equinor since 2022. With this additional backlog now agreed we have further significant, predictable and increasing revenue generation ahead of us and all of our owned fleet now has secured firm backlog until at least mid-2026.”

Based on the information provided by Odfjell Drilling, the exercised options have a value of around $121 million, excluding integrated services, annual cost escalations, performance, and fuel incentives. However, the company underlines that Equinor maintains further optional periods, which, if exercised, could keep the Deepsea Aberdeen rig contracted to 2029.

Furthermore, the UK-headquartered rig owner has elaborated that such optional periods consist of three optional periods of eight wells each, or approximately three times one year, with the rates for all such optional periods to be mutually agreed before being exercised.

This extension comes months after Equinor made use of another one for seven wells to extend the use of the Deepsea Aberdeen semi-submersible rig on the Breidablikk field located in the central part of the North Sea, ten kilometers northeast of Grane, at 130 meters of water depth. 

The contract extensions were enabled by the deal the Norwegian firm and Odfjell Drilling struck in November 2020, following a letter of intent from October 2020. The contract, which covered a scope of fifteen firm wells, had an estimated duration of 2.5 years along with nine optional wells.

The 2014-built Deepsea Aberdeen is a harsh environment semi-submersible, dual derrick rig of enhanced GVA 7500 design, capable of working at water depths of up to 3,000 meters. The rig has eight mooring lines and can accommodate 157 people. With a 7,500 mt loading capacity in all operating conditions, the rig’s drilling depth capacity is 10,670 m.

Following a value-neutral asset swap agreement with Petoro, Kjetil Hove, Equinor’s Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production Norway, confirmed that the Norwegian state-owned energy giant was determined to continue the development and the value creation on the NCS.

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Hove further emphasized Equinor’s expectations of keeping a high production level with lower emissions towards 2035.