Global oil field service provider Archer said it has been awarded a contract by Statoil to construct an advanced modular rig to permanently plug and abandon 12 gas wells on the Heimdal field in the Norwegian North Sea.
The $115m contract, which includes the startup, operating and decommissioning phases to undertake the plugging and abandonment operations on a modular rig, will be the first for the company and the industry as a whole.
Archer will construct the rig jointly with Germany-based rig manufacturing firm Max Streicher, in compliance with the existing NORSOK regulations.
The company will design the modular rig based on its first modular rig, Archer Emerald, which is currently operating for Shell Todd (STOS) in New Zealand on a production drilling contract. The modular rig package will be light in weight and more compact, to reduce the platform size and the size of the drilling crew, as well as cut construction costs.
It will provide operators with a cost efficient solution to both mobile offshore drilling units (MODU) and traditional platform drilling rigs on existing and future installations, claimed the company.
Modular rigs are also believed to perform most drilling operations that are generally carried out with a platform, including completions, plugging and abandonment. Archer said the rack and pinion driven modular drilling and intervention rigs will be a new concept for the North Sea.
As part of the contract, the company is required to complete the construction within 34 months, with four option periods of three months each, while the rig is slated to begin operations in the second half of 2014.
Archer North Sea Region president and general manager Kjetil Bjørnson said the modular rig contract is an important strategic development for offshore plugging and abandonment solutions.
"We are excited to secure our first modular rig contract in the North Sea, which is the market the modular rig was designed for. The award of this contract demonstrates the attractiveness of our modular rig concept, which combines flexibility, efficiency, short rig-up and rig-down time, making it a unique proposition for our customers both for plug and abandonment services and production drilling from fixed offshore platforms," added Bjørnson.
Image: Heimdal field. Photo courtesy of Statoil.