Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Two shallow gas pilot holes on Aker BP’s drilling agenda in Norwegian Sea

Norwegian oil and gas player Aker BP has received consent from Norway’s offshore safety regulator for exploration drilling in the Norwegian Sea, which will be undertaken with one of Saipem’s semi-submersible rigs.

Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) disclosed on Wednesday, 15 February 2023, that it had given Aker BP consent for the drilling of two shallow gas pilot holes in blocks 6507/2 and 6607/12 in the Norwegian Sea.

The first prospect, Ørn, is located in production licence 942, which was awarded on 2 March 2018 and is valid until 2 September 2023. Aker BP is the operator of the licence with an ownership interest of 30 per cent, while its partners are Equinor (40 per cent) and PGNiG Upstream Norway (30 per cent).

Regarding the second prospect, Alve N is located in production licence 127 C, which was awarded on 27 March 2017 and is valid until 28 February 2023. Aker BP is the operator of the licence with an ownership interest of 68.08 per cent, while its partners, Wintershall Dea Norge and PGNiG Upstream Norway, hold the remaining 20 and 11.92 per cent interest, respectively.

The water depth at the location of the first prospect (well 6507/2-U-3) is around 391 metres while the second prospect (well 6607/12-U-3) lies in a water depth of 370 metres. The drilling operations will be carried out with the Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig.

Back in March 2022, a three-year deal, worth $325 million, was awarded to Saipem for this rig. As disclosed at the time, the contract with two one-year extension options was scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Scarabeo 8 is a dual derrick deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig capable of working in harsh environments with a dynamic positioning system and enhanced mooring capabilities. The rig can accommodate 140 people and its maximum drilling depth is 35,000 ft.