Transocean Spitsbergen rig; Source: Transocean

Thumbs-up for Norwegian oil & gas giant to deploy Transocean rig on North Sea drilling gig

Norwegian state-owned oil and gas player Equinor has received consent from the country’s offshore safety regulator to use one of Transocean’s semi-submersible rigs for production drilling at a block located in the North Sea off Norway.

Transocean Spitsbergen rig; Source: Transocean

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) reported on Wednesday, 31 May 2023, that it had given Equinor consent to use the Transocean Spitsbergen rig for production drilling in block 35/11 in the North Sea. This covers the spudding of the well 35/11-A-13H.

The block is situated in production license 090, which was awarded on 9 March 1984 and has been extended until 31 December 2040. Equinor is the operator of the license with a 45 per cent interest while its partners are Inpex Idemistsu Norge (15 per cent), Neptune Energy Norge (15 per cent), and Vår Energi (25 per cent).

The 2010-built Transocean Spitsbergen is a sixth-generation dual-derrick winterised semi-submersible rig capable of drilling high-pressure/high-temperature formations and equipped with an automatic drilling control system. This rig was built at Aker Stord. Initially, it received the Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in July 2009 when it was called Aker Spitsbergen.

Following a change in rig ownership, Transocean applied for a new AoC and changed the rig’s name to Transocean Spitsbergen. The new AoC was received in 2012. This rig has been working for Equinor for several years.

Transocean’s fleet status report from April 2023 shows that the rig is currently contracted under a day rate of $297,000 until June 2023. Afterwards, the day rate will increase to $307,000 until September 2023 when it is due to reach $328,000 per day, which is slated to remain until January 2025.