Seadrill Norway Operations, a subsidiary of Bermuda-based deepwater drilling contractor Seadrill, has won a contract to drill two exploration wells for Equinor in the Barents Sea.

The West Hercules rig, which is primarily assigned for exploration drilling, will be deployed to drill the exploration wells. Drilling is slated to commence next year.

The contract has been granted based on a master framework agreement between the two firms.

Under the contract, it is responsibility of the rig owner to provide integrated drilling services, including remote-operated vessel (ROV), casing running, slop treatment and cuttings handling.

Equinor drilling and well services senior vice president Geir Tungesvik said: “We have already prepared a drilling programme for West Hercules, scheduled to start this autumn. We are now looking forward to continuing our cooperation with this rig.

“It can do regular exploration drilling, drilling in formations with high pressure and high temperature, it is winterized and can drill in deep waters. The rig is well suited for operations on the Norwegian continental shelf. By signing a framework agreement with Seadrill, we demonstrate that we want a long-term cooperation with this supplier.”

"The rig is well suited for operations on the Norwegian continental shelf. By signing a framework agreement with Seadrill, we demonstrate that we want a long-term cooperation with this supplier."

Separately, Seadrill Partners, a UK-based limited liability company formed by Seadrill, has been awarded a contract by oil company ExxonMobil Canada to drill one well offshore Canada.

The initial agreement is for one firm well. The oil firm has multiple options to extend the drilling contract.

The firm well agreement is expected to be around$24m. Drilling is scheduled to start between May and July next year.

Seadrill Partners will deploy its semi-submersible drilling rig West Aquarius for this well drilling.

At present, the West Aquarius has been deployed under a contract with BP in Canada, where it is drilling a sidetrack well at Aspy D-11A.

After the drilling fluid spill incident in June this year, BP recently resumed operations after a brief shut down.