Both sets of licensees will own the rigs, which are designed to work in harsh environments, in water depths of 70-140 m (229-459 ft), and to drill wells up to 10,000 m (32,808 ft). They are based on proven technology, although optimized, Statoil says, to allow for more efficient drilling and completion of subsea wells compared with existing jackups.
The primary role will be in drilling and completion of production wells.
Samsung Heavy Industries will build the rigs and KCA Deutag Drilling Norway will operate them, with offshore operations set to start in 2016-2017. The initial operation contract, valued at NOK 900 million ($155 million), is for eight years, extendable by four three-year periods.
Statoil’s strategy is to rejuvenate its rig fleet, secure long-term rig capacity, and reduce drilling costs to improve recovery rates from its Norwegian fields.
Both Gullfaks and Oseberg have long-term drilling programs, and the new rigs will likely operate at these fields for a long period. Costs are expected to be lower as a result of the ownership model, and this is expected to allow more targets to be drilled that would otherwise not be economical.
Partners at Gullfaks are Statoil, Petoro. Partners at Oseberg are Statoil, Petoro, Total E&P, ConocoPhillips.