Statoil and Aker Solutions Cancel Plans for High-Spec Well Intervention Rig

Cat B well intervention Rig aker solutions
Cat B Well Intervention Rig, image: Aker Solutions

In April 2012, Statoil and Aker Solutions announced a $1.9 billion contract to deliver a semi-submersible rig capable of year-round well-intervention services on the Norwegian continental shelf.

This so-called Category B (Cat B) rig was aimed at providing Statoil with a range of well-intervention and drilling services, however as of today, the two companies have terminated their plans to develop this new rig.  According to an emailed statement by Aker Solutions, “the technology development needed to build the rig has since proven to be considerably more demanding than initially anticipated.”

“We still foresee a need to develop the supply of this kind of service.” commented Ivar Aasheim, Senior Vice President for Field Development in Statoil, but we “will now evaluate the  project and consider alternative solutions.”.

This could be good news for Houston-based Helix Energy Solutions, a specialist in the deepwater well intervention sector which operates the Q4000 semisubmersible well intervention rig, and another similar (and larger) vessel currently under construction.

These rigs are used to conduct well lifecycle maintenance to offshore oil and gas wells to enable increased hydrocarbon recovery rates.  In addition, such wells can also be used to drill top-hole sections, alleviating the need for incredibly expensive deepwater drilling rigs to spend days, and millions of dollars, drilling such sections.

Each party will be accountable for its own project-related costs. Aker Solutions will in the second quarter book a one-off cost of NOK 375 million, of which NOK 355 million shall be recognised as an impairment of the investments in the Cat B project, while the remaining are operating costs. The charter period’s contract value of NOK 11.2 billion will be removed from Aker Solutions’ order backlog, which totalled NOK 71.7 billion at the end of March 2013.