Photo: Transocean Spitsbergen; Photo: Jamie Baikie, SIGNAL2NOISE/Equinor

Transocean semi-sub to drill at least nine more wells in Norway

Offshore drilling contractor Transocean has secured a contract extension in Norway for the harsh environment semi-submersible Transocean Spitsbergen with the firm part of the backlog worth about $181 million.

Equinor informed on Tuesday that, on behalf of the Haltenbanken West Unit and Halten East licences, it has awarded Transocean Spitsbergen a firm drilling programme consisting of nine wells and options for another two.

In a separate statement on Monday Transocean said that the firm part of the contract extension, with an estimated backlog of $181 million, is expected to begin in October 2023 and conclude in April 2025.

The estimated firm backlog excludes revenue associated with performance incentives, additional services, and option periods provided in the contract. Including the options, the value of the contract is estimated at around NOK 2.4 billion or about $255 million.

As detailed by Equinor, the rig is scheduled to start the drilling campaign in the autumn of 2023 for three production wells for the Haltenbanken West Unit, which is part of the Kristin South area in the North Sea.

Subsequently, six production wells are planned for Halten East, which will be tied in to the Åsgard field in the Norwegian Sea, before considering another two wells on Kristin South. The whole drilling programme, including options, is estimated to last for slightly less than two years.

The 2010-built rig already has a framework agreement with continuing options and has been drilling for Equinor on a continuous basis since 2019.

Earlier this year, Equinor exercised a one-well option in Norway for the Transocean Spitsbergen at $305,000 per day.

“Transocean has over an extensive period demonstrated that they deliver safe and efficient drilling operations for Equinor. We have therefore signed a long-term contract with them for a drilling programme for Halten East and Kristin South,” said Geir Tungesvik, executive vice president for Projects, Drilling & Procurement.

“We are pleased that we have now established predictability for these two operated licences. Thanks to the framework agreement with Transocean, we had an efficient process for both parties, truly leveraging the effect of our long-term collaboration,” he added.

Transocean Spitsbergen is a 6th generation dual-derrick winterised semi-submersible rig capable of drilling high-pressure/high-temperature formations and is equipped with an automatic drilling control system. The rig is currently being used for well completion on the Snorre field.