Buoyed by a slight increase shallow-water drilling activity in the North Sea and the Middle East, the number of global offshore jack-ups rose by three to 322
Jack-up drilling levels have been relatively stable in the second half of the year, never exceeding 329 (in week 26) or falling below 317 (in week 45), according to data compiled by Westwood Global Energy’s RigLogix.
Global oil benchmark Brent crude rose week-on-week, climbing from US$42.67 per barrel on 13 November closing at US$45.08 on 20 November.
One of the drilling contractors securing work in the North Sea is Maersk Drilling. In its latest fleet status report, the Danish rig owner reported landing contracts for the North Sea, West Africa and southeast Asia. Among those are two one-well contracts for jack-up Maersk Integrator with Aker BP on the Norwegian continental shelf, a three-well contract for Maersk Voyager with Total E&P Angola in Angola and an extension for jack-up Maersk Convincer with Brunei Shell Petroleum offshore Brunei Darussalam in direct continuation of the rig’s current work scope with an estimated duration of 602 days. The extension is expected to commence in May 2021 and has a firm value of approximately US$47M, excluding a potential performance bonus.
However, Serica Energy UK has deferred the commencement of its drilling programme with Maersk Resilient between March and July 2021. Following the close of Q3 2020 results, however, Maersk Drilling inked a three-well contract for jack-up Maersk Resilient with Petrogas E&P Netherlands in the Dutch sector of the North Sea with an estimated duration of 110 days. The contract commenced in November and has a firm value of US$9.4M. It was also agreed that Maersk Drilling will be given exclusive options to work on a selected number of Petrogas’ planned projects in the Dutch sector in 2021 and 2022.
Separately, the previously announced contract with Petrogas North Sea Ltd for drilling one well at the Birgitta field in the UK sector of the North Sea will be cancelled and Maersk Drilling will receive a termination fee. Maersk Drilling retains an exclusive option with Petrogas North Sea Ltd to drill the Birgitta well in 2021 at rates reflecting the expected 2021 market.
On the floater side, as reported, after the close of Q3, Maersk Drilling secured work for drill ship Maersk Viking with Brunei Shell Petroleum.
Overall, global contracted semi-submersibles, drill ships and other floaters fell by one unit week-on-week to 104 units, according to RigLogix.
Reducing emissions from operations
One thing that is becoming increasingly apparent is oil and gas companies’ intensive focus on profitability, lowering costs and cutting CO2 emissions from offshore oil operations. Shell, Total and BP have all stated goals of being net zero by 2050.
Connected to shore power, Johan Sverdrup on the Norwegian continental shelf “is a field with high profitability and low CO2 emissions, a production rise is great news,” said
Equinor senior vice president for operations south in development and production Norway Jez Averty. About 95% of Norway’s energy is supplied by hydropower.
Estimates are that emissions during the field life are less than 0.7 kg of CO2 per produced barrel – miniscule as compared with the oil and gas industry average of 18 kg of CO2 per barrel.
Production is being ramped up at the Equinor-operated Johan Sverdrup field. Expectations are that daily production will rise from the current 470,000 barrels of oil per day (b/d) to 500,000 b/d by year’s end.
Equinor is maximising the recovery of the oil reserves from the field using water injection.
Equinor said Phase 2 of the Johan Sverdrup field development is on schedule, and production start is scheduled for Q4 2022. The increase means the Johan Sverdrup full-field plateau production capacity is expected to rise from 690,000 to around 720,000 b/d.
With a goal of achieving net-zero upstream activities by 2030, Wintershall Dea is looking to squeeze out CO2 emissions and greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and is looking to OSV owners to help advance its goals. The German independent oil and gas operator has signed one-year charter with Eidesevik Offshore for LNG-fuelled, battery-hybrid Viking Princess. Wintershall Dea expects the tri-fuel PSV will reduce annual emissions on supply vessel services to the Brage platform in the NCS by up to 30%.
One of the few tri-fuel OSVs in the global fleet, 90-m long, 24-m wide Viking Princess has dual-fuel capacity (MGO and LNG) and a battery package for effective energy management.
Besides serving Brage, Viking Princess will provide services to the nearby Veslefrikk, and Statfjord A, B, and C platforms through a collaboration agreement with Equinor, which since starting in May this year, already has substantially increased the efficiency of the logistics in the area.