Photo: Transocean Norge; Image source: Equinor

Transocean told to iron out the kinks at Transocean Norge rig ahead of Equinor contract

Transocean needs to iron out some deficiencies aboard its newbuild semi-submersible drilling rig Transocean Norge ahead of its maiden contract with Equinor in Norway.

Transocean Norge; Image source: Equinor


The Transocean Norge rig, formerly known as West Rigel, was recently visited by the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority’s inspectors as part of Transocean’s application for an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) for the rig.

An AoC is a statement from the PSA expressing its confidence that petroleum activities can be performed by a drilling rig in compliance with the Norwegian regulations.

The PSA said this week it had found non-conformities related to the emergency response equipment and lifeboats aboard the Transocean Norge.

This was a follow-up to the audit conducted from 22 to 25 January 2019 at the Sembcorp Marine Ltd shipyard in Singapore, where the rig was built. The findings of the January supervision were largely followed up, but there is more work to be done with emergency preparedness.

Emergency response equipment missing


In its report this week, the safety body said that it had, during an audit, found that some emergency response equipment was missing from the rig.

As an example, the PSA said the crash kit on helideck had not been fully equipped, it lacked man-over-board suits, first-aid bags for the first-aid kit, and some breathing apparatus equipment.

Furthermore, the safety watchdog found non-conformities related to lifeboats aboard the Transocean Norge.

According to the PSA, there was a lack of equipment-specific training modules for lifeboat personnel, and there were limitations to lifeboats that made them potentially ineffective means of rescue.

Non-conformities must be fixed before AoC

The PSA found that only four people can be in the free-fall lifeboat “in the training and exercise context.” The safety body said it was unclear how Transocean could verify a 10-minute performance requirement from the evacuation alarm going off to the boat drop if only four people are allowed on board at a time.

The PSA further said that the training materials were not adapted to device-specific equipment, and, for example, did not cover the relevant information regarding the technical limitations of the lifeboats, and did not describe the handling of stretchers and placement of first aid equipment in the lifeboats, and the training module referred to the wrong lifeboat type.

The safety body has given Transocean until August 9, 2019, to report on how the non-conformities will be addressed.

“For us to issue an AoC, all known safety-critical non-conformities must be rectified and the facility must have been issued with maritime certificates from the relevant flag state,” the PSA said.

Six wells with Equinor

Worth reminding, Transocean in September 2018 entered into an $89 million six-well contract with Equinor, for the use of the Transocean Norge rig at T  the Tordis/Vigdis, Visund, Bauge and Snorre licenses. It was at the time said that the contract would start in July 2019.

Offshore Energy Today has reached out both to Transocean and Equinor asking if the non-conformities found by the PSA would lead to a delay of the drilling operations planned for the rig.

“These questions have to be directed to rig owner Transocean,” an Equinor spokesperson said. Transocean replied Friday afternoon.

The Transocean spokesperson reverted us back to the company’s fleet status report, without addressing our questions regarding the PSA findings. Transocean’s fleet status report shows the rig is expected to start working for Equinor this month. Worth noting, the company’s latest status report was issued in April, meaning it doesn’t take into account the findings of the PSA audit which took place in mid-June.

The Transocean Norge rig is owned by Hayfin Capital Management and Transocean. Designed for NCS operations, it is winterized to withstand Norwegian weather conditions.

Transocean bought its stake in the rig in May 2019. The rig, described by Transocean as one of the most capable in the world, had originally been ordered at the Jurong yard by a Seadrill subsidiary, North Atlantic Drilling Limited (NADL), but was never delivered.


 Offshore Energy Today Staff

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