Equinor Awards Transocean New Contracts for Two Offshore Drilling Rigs in Norway

The Transocean Enabler drilling rig.

(Photo: Jan Arne Wold / Equinor)
The Transocean Enabler drilling rig. (Photo: Jan Arne Wold / Equinor)

Norwegian oil giant Equinor has, on behalf of several licenses in Norway, awarded contracts for the use of Transocean's offshore drilling rigs Transocean Encourage and Transocean Enabler.

Transocean Encourage semi-submersible drilling rig will mainly be used in the Norwegian Sea, and the Transocean Enabler semi-submersible drilling unit will be used for drilling at the Johan Castberg field in the Barents Sea.

At the same time, the companies have signed a strategic collaboration agreement.

The rigs have been on eight-year contracts with Equinor that expire on December 1, 2023 and April 1, 2024, respectively. 

This will be the first contract extension since the rigs were built, as so-called Cat D rigs, specialized for Norwegian conditions.

The drilling program in the Norwegian Sea consists of nine wells to be drilled on the Tyrihans, Verdande, Andvare and Vigdis fields located in the Tampen area.

Verdande and Andvare will be tied into the Norne field. The drilling program also includes exploration wells, and may be further extended, adding six wells. The estimated total value of the nine wells is about $191 million, and the drilling campaign is expected to start on December 1.

19 wells in Barents Sea

On the Johan Castberg field, Transocean Enabler will have a fixed drilling program of 19 wells and options on another eight wells. 

The total contract value is estimated at USD 415 million, the fixed part accounting for USD 295 million. The new contract will come into effect between April 1 and July 1, 2024.

Mette H. Ottøy, Equinor’s chief procurement officer said: "We are pleased to sign a strategic collaboration agreement with Transocean, which is one of our largest rig suppliers. This reflects our perception of Transocean as a major contributor to our capability to realise our offshore ambitions also in the years ahead. We have been working closely for many years, and are now further expanding this cooperation by reserving one rig for the drilling of both production and exploration wells in the Norwegian Sea, and one rig for the development of the Johan Castberg field.

"We are now securing hot rigs, which we, together with Transocean, have already invested in upgrading, thus improving safety, reducing emissions and increasing efficiency. Operating for us for the past eight years, we already know the rigs well. We therefore have a lot of experience to build on, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration delivering safe and efficient wells," says Erik G. Kirkemo, senior vice president for drilling & well.

The estimated contract values include drilling services such as casing running, wastewater treatment, cuttings management and two remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The agreement with Transocean Enabler also includes wired drill pipe services.

Transocean Encourage and Transocean Enabler are 6th generation fully winterized, harsh environment semisubmersible rigs with automated drilling control specially designed for operations on the Norwegian continental shelf. In addition to these two rigs, Transocean Spitsbergen also has a contract with Equinor for the next few years.

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