Brent crude oil futures have surged to prepandemic levels, moving up 50% over the last three months
The oil recovery has been spurred by the roll out of vaccines globally, with signs of improving economic conditions, a recovery in oil demand and continued price support from Saudi Arabia.
Brent crude futures are up US$19.90, closing at US$59.56 on 8 February, up from US$39.66 per barrel on 9 November. Brent crude (ICE) April contracts were trading at US$60.33 on 9 February, according to Bloomberg.
Still, the oil price recovery and economic rebound from Covid cannot come fast enough for offshore oil drillers. John Fredriksen’s Oslo-listed Seadrill Limited filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its Asian drilling units, wholly owned subsidiaries Seadrill GCC Operations Ltd, Asia Offshore Drilling Limited, Asia Offshore Rig 1 Limited, Asia Offshore Rig 2 Limited and Asia Offshore Rig 3 Limited. The subsidiaries are jointly referred to as ‘AOD companies.’
Seadrill Ltd said the Chapter 11 filings are “a protective measure to support Seadrill’s broader comprehensive financial restructuring and will in no way affect the safe and efficient operation of the AOD offshore drilling units.”
Globally there were 325 offshore jack-up rigs contracted for week 6 2021, down one unit week-on-week, according to Westwood Global Energy’s RigLogix. Deepwater rig activity also fell by one unit week-on-week, settling at 104 floaters. Areas that showed positive gains for the week were the Middle East, with 120 jack-up rigs actively drilling and North Sea drilling activity also rose, with 19 floaters under contract.
Norway active market
Norway continues to be an active market. OH Meling & Co signed a contract for a 10-month extension for 2011-built multi-functional field support vessel Siddis Mariner, which will be committed until October 2021 supporting Neptune Energy’s drilling campaign with the CIMC-owned semi-submersible Deepsea Yantai.
Simon Møkster Shipping inked a 14-month charter for platform supply vessel Stril Orion to support the same campaign.
Maersk Drilling reported its low-emissions, ultra-harsh environment jack-up rig Maersk Integrator will return to Aker BP’s Ivar Aasen field in the northern North Sea. Maersk Drilling reported securing a two-well contract for the rig starting in Q3 2021. The US$19.5M contract – excluding integrated services provided and potential performance bonuses – will keep the rig busy for 73 days.
2015-built jack-up Maersk Integrator is contracted under the terms of a framework agreement Maersk Drilling and Aker BP entered into in 2017 as part of the Aker BP Jack-up Alliance which also includes Halliburton.
Maersk Integrator is undergoing a series of upgrades to convert it into a hybrid, low-emissions rig. Conversion of the rig is supported by a grant from the Norwegian NOx Fund and a separate compensation scheme agreed with Aker BP rewarding reductions in fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
The tripartite collaboration between Maersk Drilling, Aker BP and Halliburton yields efficiency gains, said Maersk Drilling chief operating officer Morten Kelstrup. “This in itself lowers the CO2 emissions associated with drilling, and the low-emissions upgrades will contribute further to delivering on our target of reducing the CO2 intensity from rig operations,” said Mr Kelstrup.
Located in 110 m of water, the Ivar Aasen field is located about 175 km from Karmøy, Norway.
Equinor reported it made the first discovery this year near the Troll field in the North Sea. Recoverable resources are estimated at between 7M m3 and 11M m3 of oil equivalent, corresponding to 44M to 69M barrels of oil equivalent.
The Røver North discovery adds to a number of discoveries in the Troll/Fram area in recent years. The wells were drilled by semi-submersible West Hercules. Equinor and its partners have matured several neighbouring prospects. The Blasto and Apodida prospects in production licence 090 will be drilled after Røver Nord.
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