Aker Solutions to provide Statoil with Cat B rig services

Written by Nick Blenkey

CatB-rigAker Solutions has entered a long-term agreement with Statoil to provide a full range of heavy well intervention and light drilling services on the Norwegian continental shelf using an entirely new type of semisubmersible rig, the category B, or Cat B.

Statoil says the Cat B is an important technological advance for the industry that will make a major contribution towards increasing recovery from existing fields.

Development of technology for increasing the recovery from operating fields is an area of commitment for Statoil. Inthe last year, the average oil recovery rate from Statoil operated fields has risen from 49 percent to 50 percent.

The Cat B, says Statoil, is “designed and equipped for the industrialization of drilling and intervention services in existing production wells” and provides a new sort of service.

Statoil executive vice president of Technology, Projects and Drilling, Margareth √òvrum, says, “The category B rig is the result of long-term, targeted technology development to increase subsea well recovery rates.”

In cooperation with the supplier industry, Statoil has developed a new type of rig and well control system specially adapted to carry out well intervention and drilling operations in existing subsea wells.

This type of rig fills the gap between light intervention vessels (category A) and conventional rigs (category C). Bilde

The category B rig with associated integrated services is expected to reduce operating costs for well intervention by as much as 40 percent.

The Cat B design provides the option for a number of different types of well intervention using wireline and coiled tubing operations. It is also designed to carry out sidetrack drilling from production tubing (through tubing drilling – TTD) in a manner that allows simultaneous production from both the new sidetrack and existing production tubing. The well services are conducted through existing subsea Christmas trees.

This is an important piece of Statoil’s rig strategy, which is based on fit-for-purpose vessels and rigs for various operations. Bilde

Aker Solutions says that under its contract with Statoil it will provide a full range of heavy well intervention and light drilling services on the Norwegian continental shelf. The contract period is for eight years, with options for three further two-year periods (2+2+2). Contract value for the initial eight-year period is approximately $1.9 billion. Work will be performed from a newbuild Category B well intervention rig, which will be owned and operated by Aker Solutions’ subsidiary Aker Oilfield Services.

“Aker Oilfield Services was set up five years ago to develop smart, cost-effective solutions for vessel-based intervention services,” says √òyvind Eriksen, executive chairman, Aker Solutions. “In 2009 we took full ownership of the company with the objective of using it as a vehicle to develop an integrated delivery model that fully capitalizes on Aker Solutions’ broad portfolio of oilfield products, systems and services, in order to create new business opportunities.”

The Category B (Cat-B) rig is a semi-submersible unit designed for year-round well intervention. It will provide a full range of heavy well intervention and light drilling tasks and will operate in water depths up to 500 m.

Well intervention services are carried out in an oil or gas well, with the objective of maximising production and increasing the recovery rate of oil and gas. Well intervention has traditionally been performed from fixed platforms. In more recent years, specially equipped ships or rigs have been developed to undertake the same type of service on subsea wells where recovery rates have been much lower.

The subsea well intervention system – i.e. the infrastructure between the rig and the seabed – is based on the technology solutions developed for Aker Oilfield Services’ deepwater well intervention vessel Skandi Aker. This is, as on Skandi Aker, a riser-based intervention system consisting of a high-pressure riser and well control package, which is connected to a subsea tree to secure safe entry into subsea wells.

“From the outset our ambition was to develop a subsea well intervention solution that would become a game-changer in the market. To win this contract is a great reward for all the hard work and investments we have put into the concept,” says Karl Erik Kjelstad, president of Aker Oilfield Services and head of the Oilfield Services and Marine Assets (OMA) business area in Aker Solutions.

“The award confirms our business model, and will pave the way for a long-term development for this part of our business,” Kjelstad adds. In addition to the new Cat-B rig, Aker Oilfield Services’ fleet include the deepwater well intervention vessel Skandi Aker, the deepwater intervention vessel Skandi Santos and the subsea construction vessel Aker Wayfarer. In addition to Statoil, the company currently works with Petrobras and Total, which also are among the world’s leading operators of deepwater fields.

The contract will be managed out of Aker Oilfield Services’ offices at Sk√∏yen, Oslo. The riser and well control package will be supplied by Aker Solutions’ subsea technology and manufacturing centre at Tranby in Lier, Norway. Aker Solutions will also supply the conveyance equipment and intervention services including coil tubing and wireline – a market segment where the company is the market leader on the Norwegian continental shelf – through its well service business that operates out of Stavanger, Norway. Aker Solutions will also provide the facilities to enable a third party contractor to supply cementing services, which Statoil will manage under a separate contract.

The EPC contract to build the Cat-B rig is currently under negotiation with reputable yards. The rig’s derrick and handling system will be provided as a subcontract to the chosen rig yard by Aker Solutions’ drilling technologies business managed from Kristiansand, Norway.

Aker Solutions already has access to the necessary funding, but is also considering various options for asset financing of this investment.

The Cat-B intervention rig is expected to start operations in the second half of 2015.

April 17, 2012

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