Comprehensive rig contract secures drilling capacity

September 1, 2005, 12:00 CEST

Together with Statoil, Eni and Shell, Hydro has entered into a contract with Transocean and Smedvig that will boost exploration well drilling capacity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf during the coming years.

The contract comprises the hire of three rigs, each for a minimum of three years - nine rig-years altogether. The three rigs are Polar Pioneer and Transocean Arctic from Transocean and Smedvig's West Alpha.T

"Four companies of this size joining forces to secure the required rig capacity represents a completely new departure," explains Hydro's exploration manager Nils Telnæs.

The rigs will mainly concentrate on exploratory drilling, though Transocean Arctic will also be used for production on the Statoil-operated Tyrihans field.

All in all, the collaboration will include almost 40 exploration wells, and capacity has been secured for HPHT wells and for drilling in Arctic regions. Transocean Arctic will be replaced by Transocean Leader for a period, so the collaboration has also secured deep-water capacity for drilling in the Norwegian Sea.

"With this contract, Hydro will be favourbly positioned to continue developing the Norwegian Continental Shelf, and we will also be able to acquire new licences and drilling assignments in connection with the imminent licencing rounds, TFO 2005 and the 19th round," states Telnæs.