2008DC MicrositesMay/JuneNews

D&C News

StatoilHydro awards 5-year contract to Aker Drilling rig

StatoilHydro has awarded a five-year contract to Aker Drilling’s Aker Spitsbergen for drilling operations in the Norwegian Sea. The contract was originally awarded in December 2006, but StatoilHydro has had until now to decide the length of the fixed part of the contract, beyond a minimum period of three years.

It was important to be awarded this contract for Aker’s first drilling unit, said Geir Sjøberg, Aker president and CEO. Value of the contract is estimated at approximately US $970 million.

The Aker Spitsbergen, an Aker sixth-generation rig, will be used for drilling assignment at Halten Nordland in the Norwegian Sea. It is designed for the Norwegian continental shelf, where deep waters and inclement weather pose extra challenges.

The construction of the rig is in progress at the Aker Kværner yard at Stord, and it is scheduled to be delivered at the end of July 2008.

The manning of Aker Spitsbergen is almost complete as well, the company noted.

Noble named winner of MMS SAFE Award 2nd year in a row

For the second consecutive year, Noble Corp has been named the recipient of the MMS 2007 National Safety Award for Excellence (SAFE) for drilling contractors. This is the third time Noble has won the SAFE award since the program’s inception.

MMS established the SAFE Award to recognize companies that excel in their efforts to conduct operations in a safe and pollution-free manner by adhering to all regulations, employing trained and motivated personnel, and going the extra mile to enhance safety and environmental protection. “Noble’s US Gulf of Mexico team has once again achieved truly outstanding results in offshore safety and environmental performance,” said David W Williams, Noble chairman.

Separately, Noble announced it has secured a Memorandum of Understanding for contracts with a total revenue potential of $4 billion over 29 rig years on its five deepwater rigs operating offshore Brazil for Petrobras. The five rigs are the noble Paul Wolff, the Noble Roger Eason, the Noble Leo Segerius, the Noble Muravlenko and the Noble Therald Martin.

Petrobras awards 6-year contracts to Seadrill newbuild semis

Seadrill has secured an unconditional Letter of Award for contracts with a revenue potential of approximately US $4.1 billion over 18 rig years for three newbuild deepwater units with Petrobras. The West Eminence semisubmersible will be delivered in late 2008, and start-up of operations offshore Brazil is scheduled for Q1 2009. Contract duration is six years. The West Taurus semi is scheduled to be delivered during Q4 2008, and start-up of operations offshore Brazil is scheduled for Q1 2009. Contract duration is six years. The West Orion semi is scheduled to be delivered during Q2 2010, and start-up of operations offshore Brazil is scheduled for Q3 2010. Contract duration is six years.

“This is one of the most important assignments ever awarded to Seadrill and will increase our contract backlog to more than US$12 billion,” said Kjell E Jacobsen, Seadrill CEO.

Separately, ExxonMobil has exercised the option to extend the contract for Seadrill’s West Aquarius from three years to four years. Estimated contract value for the full four-year period is approximately US$750 million. In addition, ExxonMobil has awarded Seadrill one additional year to the existing  three-year term for West Polaris.

The West Polaris and West Aquarius are both under construction in South Korea.

StatoilHydro makes gas discovery on Halten Bank, completes well in Algeria

StatoilHydro has made a gas discovery in the Natalia prospect in the Norwegian Sea. According to preliminary calculations, the discovery could contain around 1.5 billion cu m of recoverable gas. Natalia is located five km northwest of the Midgard structure on the Åsgard field on the Halten Bank and adds to the many finds in this area. The exploration well was drilled to a total depth of 3,040 m below sea level and was completed in rocks of early Jurassic age. Drilling on the Natalia prospect was carried out by the West Alpha semisubmersible. The well will be plugged and abandoned, and the rig will continue to the StatoilHydro-operated licence 348 in the Norwegian Sea to drill a new exploration well.

Separately, StatoilHydro and partner Sonatrach have completed the drilling and testing of exploration well number four in the Hassi Mouina license, in the Sahara desert in Algeria. The fifth Hassi Mouina well is now being drilled. The partners have proven and tested gas in Lower Carboniferous and Upper Devonian sandstones. This was the fourth discovery in the Hassi Mouina license.

Apache: 3 horizontal wells successful at Ootla shale gas play in Canada

Apache Corp announced that horizontal wells drilled in the Ootla shale play in Northeast British Columbia test-flowed at rates of 8.8 million cu ft/day, 6.1 cu ft/day and 5.3 cu ft/day. The three wells were drilled during the 2008 winter season.

“Although we are still in the early stages of understanding the full scope of this play, these three wells help validate our view that Ootla has the potential to be one of the larger shale gas accumulations in North America,” said G. Steven Farris, Apache president and chief executive officer.
Apache performed 18 fracture stimulations in the three horizontal wells, pumping a total of 7.8 million lb of sand and 280,000 bbl of water into the formation.

Transocean announces deepwater contracts

Transocean Inc announced that the ultra-deepwater drillship Dhirubhai Deepwater KG2 (formerly Deepwater Pacific 2), owned by a joint venture in which the company has 50% interest, has been awarded a five-year drilling contract from Reliance Industries. The contract is expected to commence in Q1 2010.

In addition, Transocean announced that the first ultra-deepwater drillship owned by the joint venture, Dhirubhai Deepwater KG1 (formerly Deepwater Pacific 1), has had its previously announced four-year contract extended by Reliance to five years. The drilling contract is still expected to commence in Q3 2009. The two Samsung-design drillships are under construction in South Korea. Dhirubhai Deepwater KG1 will be equipped to work in water depths up to 12,000 ft, and the Dhirubhai Deepwater KG2 in water depths up to 10,000 ft.

Additionally, Transocean has announced that the ultra-deepwater semisubmersible Deepwater Nautilus has been awarded a minimum three-year contract extension commencing in December 2008 by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. Shell has the right to elect, by 30 June 2008, to extend the contract by an additional year. The Deepwater Nautilus is capable of operating in water depths up to 8,000 ft, or greater if a pre-set mooring system is used.

Scorpion receives letters of intent for 3 jackups

Scorpion International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Scorpion Offshore, has received letters of intent for three jackups. The first is for the Offshore Vigilant, for operations of at least 11 months offshore Venezuela beginning in late October 2008. The rig is under construction at Keppel AmFELS in Brownsville, Texas, and will be delivered in August 2008. The second is for the Offshore Resolute for operations of seven months offshore Vietnam, beginning in late July 2008. The rig is also under construction in Texas and was to be delivered by mid-April 2008. The third is for the Offshore Courageous, for operations for three years in the South China Sea beginning in January 2009. The rig is currently offshore Oman; its contract with RAK Petroleum goes through October 2008.

Wärtsilä subsidiary to design deep-sea research ship

Wärtsilä’s ship design and marine consultancy subsidiary, SCHIFFKO GmbH, based in Hamburg, has been awarded a contract from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research of Bremerhaven, Germany, to design the research icebreaker AURORA BOREALIS. The ship will be capable of performing scientific deep-sea drilling operations at water depths of up to 5,000 m with a penetration of up to 1,000 m, even amid drifting pack-ice fields. An innovative dynamic positioning system will enable the ship to keep position in such a demanding environment.

Transocean Arctic arrives on StatoilHydro’s Tyrihans field

The Transocean Arctic has arrived on the Tyrihans field at Haltenbanken in the Norwegian Sea for production drilling, marking an important milestone for the start-up of an extensive drilling programme in the Norwegian Sea. Planning work on the StatoilHydro-operated Tyrihans field started back in 1986. The field is one of the largest development projects on the Norwegian continental shelf. The development involves extensive use of multilateral wells and smart wells with downhole regulation and control equipment. Pumps for seawater injection will be installed directly on the seabed for enhanced recovery.

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