STAVANGER, Norway – Statoil has contracted Songa Offshore to build two new semisubmersibles for drilling operations offshore Norway.
The $2.47-billion contract for the two category D rigs covers a fixed eight-year charter period. However, the value could increase following commencement of the drilling program due to escalation provisions taking effect from 2011.
The category D rig is designed to operate in 100-500 m (328-1,640 ft) of water and to drill wells down to 8,500 m (27,887 ft). It will serve as a workhorse on Statoil’s mature fields, mainly drilling and completing production wells, allowing Statoil to produce more oil from the fields.
Various topside suppliers, yard, and rig owners helped develop the concept. DSME in South Korea will build the rigs, with Aker Solutions supplying the drilling equipment.
Mobilization to the North Sea will take around three months. The rig hand-overs are scheduled for 1Q and 3Q 2014.
First field to be serviced by the new rigs will be Troll in the North Sea, which last year produced on average over 120,000 b/d of oil.
“Statoil and its Troll partners have high ambitions for the further development of the field,” said Hans Jakob Hegge, Statoil's senior VP for Eastern North Sea operations in Development and Production Norway.
"We will now have a tool capable of performing the demanding tasks ahead. The rig capacity on the Norwegian continental shelf is limited, and increased capacity is essential to ensure enhanced recovery. The new rigs are expected to operate 20% more efficiently than conventional rigs, and we look forward to having the new rigs up and running from 2014."
Although both rigs are under eight-year contracts, these are extendable with four three-year options, which could lead to a 20-year contract for each rig. Statoil says this long-term approach should ensure rig capacity for its growth needs, as well as providing predictability for the rig contractor.
Statoil is also considering adding two further category D rigs via an option with Songa Offshore, although it continued to evaluate offers from other bidders.
Later this year Statoil will consider contractual options for construction of the extra semis, which could include taking an ownership position.