Drill ship starts work

February 28, 2000, 12:00 CET

The much-delayed West Navion drill ship is on its way to its first assignment for Statoil after leaving the outfitting yard near Stavanger on 26 February.

It will spud a well near the group's Norne field in the Norwegian Sea under a contract with owners Smedvig and Navion which runs until 1 December.

The vessel is then scheduled to carry out a number of minor assignments on various fields before being leased on to BP Amoco for a well, reports Idar G Johnsen, vice president for drilling in the exploration and area development unit.

Its next stop will be Statoil's Fylla licence off west Greenland. An autumn programme remains to be clarified.

West Navion features two drilling rigs, which expands the range of work that can be pursued in parallel.

Dynamic positioning allows it to take station quickly and easily, and the ship is specially designed to drill in more than 350 metres of water.

According to Mr Johnsen, efficiency gains of 15-20 per cent can be expected by comparison with conventional drilling rigs.

Built in South Korea, West Navion was originally due to begin work in July 1998. Stavanger's Smedvig group, which manages the vessel, attributes the delay to a number of factors.

These include design changes during the project, late deliveries of equipment, and outfitting for deeper water than originally planned.

The ship has been outfitted and tested at the Offshore & Marine yard in Sandnes.