Equinor Contracts Seadrill Drillship West Saturn

April 27, 2021

(Photo: Seadrill)
(Photo: Seadrill)

Offshore drilling contractor Seadrill said it has secured a four-year firm contract with four one year options for the West Saturn drillship with Equinor Brasil Energia Ltda for work on the Bacalhau field in Brazil.

Total value for the firm portion of the contract, including mobilization, upgrades and integrated services, is expected to be approximately $380 million, with a performance bonus providing meaningful incremental opportunity, Seadrill said. The total contract value is contingent on the final investment decision (FID) by the partnership for Bacalhau. Commencement is expected in first quarter of 2022.

“In this contract we have secured a fixed rate for the initial firm period, which includes a performance element that enables the supplier to increase its profit by completing safe and efficient operations. We have also agreed on general terms for options, and we believe this contract gives the Bacalhau project good incentives for a long drilling campaign,” said Mette Halvorsen Ottøy, Equinor chief procurement officer.

Bacalhau is a project in 2,000 meters water depth in the Brazilian pre-salt area, located in the Santos basin. It is Equinor’s deepest high-pressure field, consisting of two licences, BM-S-8 and Norte de Carcará. The field was discovered in 2012, and Equinor—now operator and owner of a 40% project stake—purchased it from Petrobras in 2016. Partners ExxonMobil and Petrogal Brasil hold 40% and 20% stakes respectively.

“Under this contract, we have a high-spec drill ship, equipped with features such as a double derrick and automated drilling control and we look forward to continuing this collaboration with Seadrill in Brazil, where we are familiar with the drill ship from previous operations,” said Erik G. Kirkemo, Equinor senior vice president for drilling and well. “Going forward, we expect that the drill ship will be operated in accordance with our best practice, and that this will yield safety results and efficiency that match our high ambitions.”

West Saturn is a seventh-generation drill ship, adapted for water depths up to 3,600 meters. It has Seadrill’s existing, bespoke, managed pressure drilling (MPD) system already installed and in conjunction with Equinor and partners, will receive further upgrades and enhancements in safety, efficiency, and environmental control, Seadrill said.

Human factor safety enhancements to red zone management will be automated through the use of Seadrill’s AI-enabled safety technology Vision IQ. The efficiency of the drillship will be further enhanced through Seadrill’s Plato Performance solution, driving continuous improvement in repetitive drilling activities while delivering consistent process execution and optimization of the drilling program with improved safety, the company said.

The fuel consumption of the West Saturn is expected to be reduced by between 10-15% with the introduction of a combined hydrogen and methanol injection system along with other energy efficiency upgrades. Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are expected to reduce by between 10-15%, and Nitrous Oxide (NOx) by between 30-80%.

Seadrill’s CEO, Stuart Jackson, said, “This further broadening of our long-standing relationship with Equinor is a testament to the experience and consistent operational excellence of our team. The West Saturn’s planned upgrades are a key development in Seadrill’s innovation pipeline, as the adoption of new technologies will improve drilling efficiency and reduce the environmental footprint of Seadrill and our clients’.”



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