Ineos Oil & Gas UK has awarded Maersk Drilling a contract to provide a jack-up rig to support drilling activity in the UK North Sea.

Under the $11.3m contract, Maersk Drilling will deliver the harsh-environment jack-up rig Maersk Resolve.

Ineos will use the rig to undertake drilling and hydraulic stimulation at the Breagh Alpha A11 well located in block 42/13 of the North Sea.

The Maersk Resolve rig is planned to start drilling in the third quarter of 2021.

With an estimated duration of 140 days, the contract also includes four additional one-well options.

Maersk Drilling COO Morten Kelstrup said: “We’re delighted to be able to firm up Maersk Resolve’s drilling programme for 2021 with this contract, which will see the rig take on its third campaign in a row involving drilling of the challenging Zechstein formations you encounter in this part of the North Sea.”

The Maersk Resolve high-efficiency jack-up rig is currently operating for Spirit Energy in the UK North Sea.

In a separate release, Maersk Drilling said it has divested the jack-up rig Maersk Guardian to New Fortress Energy.

An agreement is also signed by Maersk Drilling to sell jack-up rig Mærsk Gallant to New Fortress Energy.

These two all-cash transactions have a combined sale value of $31m.

New Fortress Energy plans to use the two rigs for non-drilling purposes as part its proposed Fast LNG project.

Maersk Drilling CEO Jørn Madsen said: “These transactions will contribute to the necessary rationalisation of the global drilling rig fleet and they are further in line with Maersk Drilling’s strategic priority of maintaining a fleet of modern, high-quality assets.”

Upon completion of the two transactions, the number of Maersk Drilling’s rigs will be reduced to 12.