Shelf Drilling Barsk (former Noble Lloyd Noble) jack-up rig; Source: Jamie Baikie/Equinor

Shelf Drilling jack-up rig’s stay in Norwegian waters prolonged

Offshore drilling contractor Shelf Drilling has secured a contract extension for one of its jack-up rigs with Norway’s Equinor for drilling operations at a field on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

Shelf Drilling Barsk (former Noble Lloyd Noble) jack-up rig; Source: Jamie Baikie/Equinor

According to Shelf Drilling, a subsidiary of Shelf Drilling North Sea (SDNS) has won a contract for the Shelf Drilling Barsk (former Noble Lloyd Noble) jack-up rig with Equinor for operations at the Gudrun field offshore Norway. The two-well extension has an estimated duration of 254 days and includes options for three wells at the field.

The rig secured a contract with Equinor in April 2023 for operations at the Sleipner Vest field. While the initial contract was for two wells, the deal entailed options for two additional wells and the planned start-up of operations was expected between May and July 2024. The rig owner has now confirmed that the rig is scheduled to begin operations with Equinor at the Sleipner Vest field in May 2024 with an estimated duration of 270 days.

In conjunction with the new contract extension, the Norwegian state-owned oil and gas player has also exercised the first option well at Sleipner Vest with an estimated minimum duration of 83 days and a contract value of approximately $81 million, excluding certain integrated services.

The Sleipner Vest field in blocks 15/6 and 15/9 was discovered in 1974. The production of gas and condensate started in August 1996. This field is developed with two platforms: Sleipner B and Sleipner T. The Alfa Nord satellite field was tied back to the Sleipner T platform as part of the development.

David Mullen, Chief Executive Officer of Shelf Drilling, commented: “We are pleased to strengthen our collaboration with Equinor with this important contract extension. We see this as a reflection of Equinor’s confidence in Shelf Drilling to deliver these challenging wells on both Sleipner Vest and Gudrun. We remain on track to commence our contract in May 2024 and are fully committed to providing safe and efficient operations to Equinor.”

The Shelf Drilling Barsk rig, previously known as the Noble Lloyd Noble jack-up rig, was bought by Shelf Drilling due to Noble’s efforts to remedy competition concerns related to its merger with Maersk Drilling, which was concluded in 2022. The 2016-built Shelf Drilling Barsk jack-up rig is of GustoMSC CJ70-X150-ST design and can accommodate 140 people.

With decarbonization making inroads on the global energy scene, Equinor recently laid the groundwork to slash carbon emissions from the NCS by 160,000 tons of CO2 per year with power from shore at multiple fields, including Gudrun and Sleipner. The company’s pursuit of decarbonization has been bolstered by partial electrification of assets on Utsira High.

Recently, Shelf Drilling got its hands on new deals and extended existing assignments for its rig fleet, including a contract extension for a jack-up rig working on an assignment in the Gulf of Suez off the coast of Egypt with Gemsa Petroleum Company (Gempetco).

The rig owner is also among offshore drilling contractors that have received a suspension of operations for some of its jack-up rigs in the Middle East.