It all started when Lundin Norway was to drill a single well, its first, in 2007. Demand for rigs was high, and it was very difficult to sign a rig contract for a single well programme. The problem was solved by forming a consortium with six other oil companies. This enabled the consortium to sign a three-year agreement for the Bredford Dolphin rig, which was positioned in the British sector at that time. The rig had to be upgraded before it could be approved for use on the Norwegian shelf.
The first well drilled resulted in the Luno discovery, now known as the Edvard Grieg field. That first well proved to be the key to open the potential of the Utsira High area.
Over the past six years, Lundin Norway has operated 36 wells with eight different rigs with no accidents of any kind. Of these 36 drilling operations, 21 were exploration wells which resulted in 8 commercial discoveries and 15 were appraisal wells.
Selection of rigs
Today, Lundin Norway charters rigs either for its own account or together with other oil companies in consortiums. The type of rig that we use is associated with our strategy and our choice of technology. We explore primarily for oil and focus on shallow waters (less than 500 metres deep) where pressure and temperature are not particularly high. The rig fleet consists of both older rigs such as Bredford Dolphin and completely new rigs such as Island Innovator. All our rigs should be prepared in a manner to deliver the well as planned without harming people or the environment.
Generally we use jack-up rigs for wells located in water depths of less than 100 metres. For deeper water, floating installations are usually the rule.
Bredford Dolphin, which belongs to Dolphin Drilling, is one of our busiest rigs. Thanks to proper maintenance and upgrading, this older rig, based on Aker’s well known H3 concept, is still doing an outstanding job for us.
Songa Dee, which belongs to Songa Offshore, is also an older rig that is kept in shape by proper maintenance and modernisation. The rig has drilled wells on both Volund/Alvheim and other fields for Lundin Norway.
From Mærsk we have chartered the Mærsk Guardian, Mærsk Gallant and Mærsk Giant rigs. We have given Mærsk Guardian the important assignment of drilling production wells and completing our first company operated installation, Brynhild.
The Transocean rigs; Transocean Leader, Transocean Winner and Transocean Arctic have drilled wells for us on both the Johan Sverdrup field and in the Barents Sea.
A jack-up rig from Rowan Drilling will drill the production wells for the Edvard Grieg field in 2014.
The newest rig in our fleet is Island Innovator, owned by Marine Accurate Well (Maracc). Built in China, the DP rig can move relatively fast on its own power. While it takes around seven days to tow a rig from the North Sea to the Barents Sea, it takes, for example, only half that time for Island Innovator to sail the same distance.
According to plan, Lundin Norway will drill a number of operated exploration wells on the Norwegian shelf in 2014. In addition comes the drilling of production wells on the Brynhild and the Edvard Grieg fields. This will require significant rig capacity, and we have entered into extensive contracts with five rigs.
We have multi-well contacts in place with Bredford Dolphin, Island Innovator and Transocean Artic to cover our exploration and appraisal programme whilst production wells on Brynhild and Edvard Grieg will be drilled by the Mærsk Guardian and Rowan rigs.
A rapidly expanding drilling department
In 2005, Lundin Norway’s drilling department consisted of two people. Today we number 40. In the early phase, we received invaluable assistance from AGR and Acona to carry out our drilling operations. Now the department is ready to operate both Island Innovator and all production drilling on its own.
We currently have four rigs in operation. Each drilling operation requires extensive preliminary work, monitoring and supplementary work to ensure that everything goes according to plan and yields optimal results.
Lundin Norway’s list of discoveries is long, as is the list of exploration wells to be drilled. Even with our long and extensive rig agreements, it may be a challenge to obtain rig capacity going forward if the rate of discovery continues at the same pace as today. From what we can see today, while drilling is scheduled in a number of places on the Norwegian shelf, the centres of gravity lie on the Utsira High and in the Barents Sea.