Driller that made world-class Guyana discovery lands strategic partnership with Norwegian oil giant  

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Norway’s state energy company, Equinor, said it has awarded contracts for the use of the Transocean Encourage to be used mainly in the Norwegian Sea, and the Transocean Enabler for the Johan Castberg field. The planned drilling spans multiple license areas. Equinor has also signed a strategic collaborative agreement with Transocean.

The rigs have been on eight-year contracts with Equinor that expire on December 1, 2023 and April 1, 2024, respectively. Equinor said 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 includes exploration wells and may be further extended, adding six wells. The estimated total value of the nine wells is about US$191 million, 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 US$415 million, the fixed part accounting for US$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,” said Mette H. Ottøy, Equinor’s chief procurement officer.

The strategic collaboration agreement are expected to 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,” Erik G. Kirkemo, senior vice president for drilling & well said. “Operating for us for the past eight years, we already know the rigs 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.

Back in 2015, Transocean’s Deepwater Champion hit pay at the Liza field offshore Guyana, delivering what was the largest deepwater discovery in the world during that period. Liza-1 was the first in a series of commercial discoveries made at the ExxonMobil-operated Stabroek Block which is now holds over 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources.

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