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Statoil launches new rig type for increased oil recovery

Statoil let a contract to Aker Solutions to hire a category B drilling rig, a new type of rig, which is designed to increase recovery from the company’s operating fields on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

Statoil has developed the new type of rig and well-control system in cooperation with the supplier industry. The category B rig, which falls between light intervention vessels (category A) and conventional rigs (category C), has been specially adapted to carry out well intervention and drilling operations in existing subsea wells, Statoil said.

The new rig, with associated integrated services, is expected to reduce operating costs for well intervention by as much as 40%, Statoil reported.

The rig’s design, which provides the option for a number of different types of well interventions using wireline and coiled tubing operations, is based on Aker Solutions’ own studies with a background in Statoil specifications. The rig type is designed for year-round well service in Statoil-operated activities.

“This type of rig is also designed to carry out sidetrack drilling from production tubing (through tubing drilling) in a manner that allows simultaneous production from both the new sidetrack and existing production tubing,” Statoil said, adding, “The well services are conducted through existing subsea Christmas trees.”

Statoil said, “The key to maintaining the current production level on the NCS is increased recovery from existing fields, along with the development of new fields. Increasing drilling activity on mature fields is important in order to achieve the NCS’s full potential.”

Currently, Statoil operates about 500 subsea wells. Statoil and licensees will enter into an 8-year contract with options for three times 2 years for the category B service. The estimated value of the contract is $1.9 billion.

In addition to rig rental, the contract also includes rental of the necessary equipment and services to carry out well intervention, sidetrack drilling, remotely operated vehicle operations, well testing, and cementing.

The rig will be in service during 2015.


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