The contracts with Nabors Drilling and Enafors have a combined value of about NOK 210 million (US $32 million). The contract period lasts until March 2008 with opportunities for extension. Awarding the contracts is dependent on sanctioning by the Hassi Mouina partners.
Nabors Drilling's Rig 284 has a planned start-up in the second or third quarter of this year, while Enafor's rig ENF 39 will start drilling in the fourth quarter.
Hassi Mouina is Statoil's first ever operatorship on land.
"It is very positive that we get the rigs in place, to secure continued good progress in exploration in Hassi Mouina," says Terje Martin Halmų, country manager in Algeria.
"This is the first time Statoil is in the market for land rigs. It is a tight market, so we are very gratified that the contracts are in place.
"Statoil has not entered into contracts with these rig contractors previously. Health, safety and the environment have been very important criteria in awarding the contract."
Statoil has a 75 percent share in the block and Algerian national oil and gas company, Sonatrach, has 25 percent. Sonatrach has previously drilled one well which proved to contain hydrocarbons in Hassi Mouina.
Statoil has made a commitment to gather 400 kilometers of 2D-seismic and to drill two wells in the block but has plans to drill more. The area of the license is about 23,000 square kilometers.
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