Equinor, on behalf of several licences, has awarded contracts for the use of Transocean Encourage, mainly in the Norwegian Sea, and Transocean Enabler, for the Johan Castberg field. 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, specialised for Norwegian conditions.

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

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

On the Johan Castberg field, Transocean Enabler will have a fixed drilling programme of 19 wells and options on another eight wells. The total contract value is estimated at USD 415 million, with the fixed part accounting for USD 295 million. The new contract will come into effect between April 1 and July 1, 2024.

"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," says Mette H. Ottøy, Equinor’s chief procurement officer.

The strategic collaboration agreement will drive improvements in technology and innovation related to safety, efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.

"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 winterised, 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.

  • Licensees in the Johan Castberg licence: Equinor Energy AS (operator, 50%), Vår Energi AS (30%) and Petoro AS (20%).

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