STAVANGER, Norway -- Statoil has issued an invitation to tender for a new type of drilling rig to use on mature fields on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).
The company is striving to maximize potential from its mature fields, and sees lower rig rates, greater drilling efficiency, and access to rigs as major factors in achieving this goal.
“The rigs delivered to the NCS in recent years were first and foremost constructed for operations in deepwater,” says Jon Arnt Jacobsen, chief procurement officer. “That means that they are big and too costly for our requirements and challenges on the NCS. We are therefore taking steps to rejuvenate the rig fleet and ensure that the right rig meets the right requirements.”
The purpose-designed category D rig, developed in collaboration with various contractors, would operate in water depths of 100-500 m (328-1,640 ft) and drill wells to depths of up to 8,500 m (27,887 ft). According to Statoil, it will serve as a “workhorse” on mature fields, primarily for drilling production wells and well completions.
Statoil’s tender is for a minimum of two rigs, with the operations contract running either for eight years with four three-year options, or for a 20-year firm period. This lengthy period should limit the risk for the drilling contractor chosen to build the rig. Statoil may consider taking an ownership stake in the rig.
Most recent finds in mature areas of the NCS have been minor, and Statoil argues that rig costs need to come down order for it to realize the potential value. This will assist fasttrack tiebacks to existing infrastructure.
Statoil envisages the new rig(s) working year-round in the North Sea and Norwegian Sea.
“The goal is that the new rig will drill 20% more effectively than conventional rigs,” says Jacobsen. “This will help to counteract the cost trends in the rig market.”
The contract should be awarded this summer, with the rigs due to be delivered in the second half of 2014.