Oil and gas exploration company ConocoPhillips has received consent from the Norwegian offshore safety watchdog Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), to use a Valaris rig for plugging and abandonment on the Ekofisk field.

The Rowan Norway jack-up drilling rig, now named Valaris JU-292, will be used for the contract. It was built in 2011, and has carried out operations on the field in 2014 and 2016. It is under contract with ConocoPhillips in Norway until next February, and has been under contract since November last year.

According to the Norwegian PSA, the consent applies to the plugging and abandonment of six wells, as well as the removal of conductor casings for five wells that have already been plugged and abandoned on the field.

The Ekofisk field lies in the southern Norwegian part of the North Sea. The water depth in the area is about 70m-75m.

The original Ekofisk area development consisted of eight oil and gas fields, namely Cod, Ekofisk, West Ekofisk, Tor, Albuskjell, Eldfisk, Edda and Embla.

This complex also formed a transportation hub for Valhall, Hod, Gyda, Ula, Statfjord, Heimdal, Tommeliten and Gullfaks.

The field has been developed with many facilities, including facilities for associated fields as well as export pipelines.

Last month, ConocoPhillips decided to trim its 2020 operating plan capital expenditures (capex) by an additional $1.6bn due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In March this year, ConocoPhillips awarded a contract to engineering firm Subsea 7. It will supply the Barossa offshore project with infield flowlines and subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF) infrastructure.