Norway Backs Statoil Subsea Rig

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has thrown its weight behind Statoil's plans for a new kind of rig that is specially adapted for the maintenance of subsea wells.

The NPD announced Thursday that it is calling for licensees in Statoil-operated production licenses to support Statoil in its plans for what it calls a 'category B' rig. 
The category B rig is being designed for year-round well intervention operations for Statoil, providing a full range of heavy well intervention and light drilling techniques. These include through-tubing rotary drilling, wireless, coil tubing, high pressure pumping and cementing.
In the past, Statoil has said that it needs at least one rig of this type for work on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
Now the NPD has sent a letter to relevant companies, pointing out that it regards recovery from producing fields as an important commitment area. The organization noted that an increasing percentage of the oil production on the Norwegian shelf comes from subsea wells and the number of wells is increasing, while it also noted that it could be challenging to both drill new sidetracks from the subsea wells and carry out maintenance.
"That is why the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate is concerned with finding good solutions that can contribute to maintaining or increasing production from subsea wells," said Torsten Bertelsen, the NPD's director responsible for the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea.
Statoil's cat B rig is specially adapted for well intervention campaigns, and the rig can be used on many fields with subsea wells.
The NPD's letter calls upon companies to either support Statoil's project to present alternative measure or projects that can address the same issues.
"A co-operation on the new rig type across production licenses is considered good resource management," said Bertelsen.

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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