West Elara rig cleared to begin drilling at Ekofisk

American energy corporation ConocoPhillips has received consent to use the West Elara drilling rig for drilling and completion of water injection wells at the Ekofisk field in the North Sea.

Norway’s safety watchdog, the Petroleum Safety Watchdog (PSA), said on Wednesday that the consent regards drilling wells on the Ekofisk 2/4 VC.

According to the Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority (Kartverket), the Ekofisk 2/4 VC is a subsea template that was supposed to be installed during September 2017.

The safety body added that drilling was scheduled to begin in the last quarter of 2017 and was expected to last approximately one year.

It is worth noting that ConocoPhillips hired the West Elara and West Linus rigs from North Atlantic Drilling Limited (NADL), a subsidiary of Seadrill, on ten-year contracts worth $1.4 billion excluding performance bonuses.

Both rigs will work for the company in the Greater Ekofisk Area which comprises four producing fields: Ekofisk, Eldfisk, Embla, and Tor.

The West Elara is a jack-up drilling rig, delivered by Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd in Singapore in 2011. The rig was issued with an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) by the PSA in November 2011.


Ekofisk platform removals

The PSA also gave ConocoPhillips consent in August to prepare and begin the removal of minor structures from the Ekofisk field in the North Sea.

The consent awarded to the company was for the disposal of the Ekofisk 2/4 H, Ekofisk 2/4 A, Ekofisk 2/4 FTP, and Ekofisk 2/4 Q platforms.

The contract for the removal of Ekofisk field platforms was awarded to the Dutch contractor Heerema Marine Contractors.