Statoil's Askeladden jackup seeking its fortune at Gullfaks field


STAVANGER -- The new Cat J jackup rig Askeladden started drilling at Gullfaks field on March 26, with the goal of providing new production from old wells and exploring to create new value.

The new Cat J jackup rig Askeladden. Photo: Statoil.

Askeladden has been bought by the Gullfaks licence to carry out production and exploration drilling on Gullfaks Satellites. For several months the rig had to wait on weather, both on its way from the yard in South Korea and when it met the Norwegian winter weather. It arrived at the field on Feb. 19 and, on March 5, the legs were firmly placed on the seabed at its final location by the subsea template.

“Safety is our top priority – we will not start any operations before we are confident that they can be carried out safely. We have spent the waiting time on maturing new prospects and training personnel,” says Gunnar Nakken, head of the operations west cluster in Statoil.

“Gullfaks has been, and will continue to be, a promising area, and more exploration wells will be drilled during the next years, in combination with production drilling. We are planning a long field life beyond 2030 on Gullfaks, and Askeladden will be key to maintain high value creation on the field," he says.

The new Cat J jackup rig Askeladden started drilling at Gullfaks field on March 26.

Plugging first

Plugging of two wells starts now before they are going to reuse the wells, so-called slot recovery, and drill to new well targets. The second well will have a sidetrack to the Rimfaks Lomvi prospect at 4,200-m depth to explore for new hydrocarbon deposits.

So far, 11 wells are planned for the first two years of operation, however, the rig is to meet a long-term need. New plans reaching beyond 2020 are continuously being developed. The KCA Deutag drilling contractor was awarded an eight-year contract.

Designed for efficiency

“This is a very exciting rig which is well prepared for a digitalized future, and can start using almost any new technology. It has a subsea blowout preventer, which is not common on jackup rigs. That makes it an excellent working platform for improved work efficiency, and reduces our need to wait on weather. Our challenge will be to utilize the weather windows properly, and avoid moving the rig in the winter season,” said Carlos Kauffmann, drilling superintendent for the Cat J rig Askeladden.

On Feb. 25, the sister rig Cat J Askepott will start drilling on a new field, Oseberg Vestflanken 2. Consequently, the Gullfaks start-up marks that both newbuilds referred to as the "super rigs" are now in operation for Statoil and its partners.


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