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AkerBP has started plugging operations at its Valhall field in the North Sea, offshore Norway, as part of a project that involves powering the Maersk Invincible jack-up drilling rig from shore.

Maersk Invincible has been hired for five years and arrived at the Valhall field last month.

For the next few years, the rig will permanently plug a total of 18 wells from the Valhall DP platform.

The rig receives electricity completely from the Valhall IP platform through a 500m high-voltage cable. This is expected to reduce local emissions by 15,200t of CO2 and 168t of NOx annually. 

Aker BP Valhall field director Per Mikal Hauge said: "This is a pioneer project for Aker BP. Electrifying the drilling rig allows us to significantly cut local CO2 and NOx emissions.

“This is in line with our strategy of developing solutions that contribute to minimising the environmental consequences of our activities.”

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By GlobalData
"Electrifying the drilling rig allows us to significantly cut local CO2 and NOx emissions."

“The Valhall field receives power from Lista through a 294km long subsea cable. We had available power supply capacity and Maersk Drilling made a commitment to facilitate electrification of the Maersk Invincible when it was built in South Korea.”

The company secured up to Nkr42m ($4.95m) from the Norwegian business sector’s NOx Fund to carry out the electrification project.

Aker BP has completed multiple modifications to prepare for power supply to the rig. Plugging wells is said to form an essential part to modernise the Valhall field centre.

The original three platforms, QP, DP and PCP, producing since 1982 will be removed, while the remaining platforms in the field centre, IP, WP and PH, are expected to produce for several years.

Image: Maersk Invincible in the fjord outside Stavanger before being towed out to the Vallhall field. Photo: courtesy of Maersk Drilling.