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Rig secured for Barents Sea

April 19, 2004, 13:30 CEST

A letter of intent worth about NOK 310 million for the drilling of three wells in the Barents Sea has been signed with Ocean Rig by Statoil and Norsk Hydro.

The contract value includes the cost of mobilisation and upgrading to work in these far northern waters, including requirements for winterisation and zero discharges to the sea.

Plans call for the first well to be spudded this autumn, with the actual drilling campaign due to last for about 135 days. In addition come yard stays and mobilisation/demobilisation.

Either Eirik Raude or Leiv Eiriksson will be used. Both rigs were built in 1999 to the Bingo 9000 design and are specially constructed to work in harsh-weather areas.

Statoil will be operator for two of the wells, with one being drilled in production licence 202 or in seismic area F, and the other in seismic area G. Hydro plans a well in seismic area C.

“We’re hoping to find both gas and oil,” says Ørjan Birkeland, Statoil’s exploration manager for northern Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

“Possible gas resources can be piped to the liquefaction plant under construction at Melkøya outside Hammerfest.”

The letter of intent is conditional on the wells being sanctioned by the partners concerned and by the Norwegian authorities.