Drilling firm Noble Corp. has been awarded a four-year drilling contract for work on the UK North Sea Mariner project using a new Cat J jack-up with Norway's Statoil.
The contract is worth $655 million and includes a one two-year option, said operator Statoil on behalf of Mariner partners JX Nippon Exploration and Production (U.K.) Limited and Cairn Energy PLC
The new Category J rig will be able to operate at water depths from 70 to 150 metres and drill wells down to10,000 metres, said Statoil. It will be a "tailor-made jack-up rig for operations in harsh environment on both surface and subsea wells in the shallow-water segments".
The work is due to start in 2016. The Mariner heavy oil project has a GBP 4.7 billion price tag, said Statoil, which expects to start production from the development in 2017. The field is expected to produce for at least 30 years. The average production is estimated at around 55,000 barrels of oil per day over the plateau period from 2017 to 2020.
Jon Arnt Jacobsen, chief procurement officer at Statoil, said: "Statoil is continuously working to secure a rig fleet with the right capacities and capabilities to suit our needs. We are looking forward to working with Noble Corporation, who will use a new built jack-up rig based on the Cat J design.
"Noble Corporation has per today four operations in the UK, and this new jackup operation will be handled equivalent to other operations in the UK. This will give Statoil and the license group a fit-for-purpose rig which is important in order to develop the Mariner project in a safe and efficient manner."
Morten Ruud, vice president for western Europe in development and production international in Statoil, said: "Mariner is the largest new offshore development in the UK in more than a decade. It will generate jobs and substantial ripple effects for UK and the wider Aberdeen region."
The Mariner field development plan was approved by the UK government's Department of Energy and Climate Change inn February this year.
The Mariner Field is located on the East Shetland Platform of the UK North Sea approximately 150km east of the Shetland Isles.
Statoil acquired 44.44% and operatorship for Mariner from Chevron in 2007. Statoil acquired a further 20.6667% of Mariner from Nautical Petroleum in 2010.
JX Nippon Exploration and Production (U.K.) Ltd (28.89%) and Alba Resources Limited, (6%) are Co-venturers in Mariner. Alba Resources Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cairn Energy PLC.