Equinor has awarded Transocean two major offshore drilling contracts for the harsh-environment Transocean Encourage and Transocean Enabler rigs, primarily in the Norwegian Sea and the giant Johan Castberg Arctic oil field located in the Barents Sea.
At the same time, the companies have also signed a strategic collaboration agreement to drive improvements in safety, efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Transocean Encourage’s drilling program includes nine wells in the Tyrihans, Verdande, Andvare, and Vigdis fields, with an estimated total value of USD 191 million. The campaign is set to commence in December. Verdande and Andvare will be tied into the Norne field, and the program may be further extended with six additional wells.
Transocean Enabler’s contract for the Johan Castberg field includes a fixed drilling program of 19 wells and options for another eight, with an estimated total value of USD 415 million. The new contract will take effect between April 1 and July 1, 2024.
The two rigs have been on eight-year contracts with Equinor since delivery and this marks their first contract extension.
Mette H. Ottøy, Equinor’s Chief Procurement Officer, highlighted the long-standing relationship with Transocean, stating that the collaboration ensures their capacity to fulfill offshore ambitions for the years to come.
“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,” said Ottøy.
Both the Transocean Encourage and Transocean Enabler are 6th generation fully-winterized, harsh environment semi-submersible rigs, designed specifically for the Norwegian continental shelf. The contracts 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.
Erik G. Kirkemo, Senior Vice President for Drilling & Well, emphasized the benefits of their collaboration with Transocean, stating that the investment in upgrading the rigs has improved safety, reduced emissions, and increased efficiency.
“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,” said Kirkemo.
In addition to the two rigs, Transocean Spitsbergen will also continue its contract with Equinor in the coming years.
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