Statoil Charters Two Rigs for North Sea Work

Statoil has entered into agreements with Aker Drilling ASA and Odfjell Invest AS for chartering two new drilling rigs, pending the partners' approval.

The rigs will be used for production and exploration drilling in Statoil-operated licenses in the Halten/Nordland area of the Norwegian Sea and the Tampen area of the North Sea.

Aker Drilling is building its rig at the Aker Stord yard, south of Bergen. It will be delivered in the first half of 2008.

Odfjell Invest is building its rig at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering yard in South Korea. It will be delivered in the first half of 2009. Both are sixth generation rigs.

"Consideration towards safeguarding the natural and working environment on the rigs has been decisive for these contract awards," says Terje Overvik, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway (EPN).

"The rigs will contribute to ensuring safe and effective operations."

He adds that the procurements are an important contribution to fulfilling the aggressive production targets Statoil has set for the Tampen and Halten/Nordland areas.

Kjell-Erik Ostdahl, Statoil chief procurement officer, is pleased that Statoil has secured essential future rig capacity in a tight market.

"With the signing of these contracts, Statoil is inviting the partners to be part of a renewal of the ageing rig fleet on the Norwegian continental shelf," says Mr. Ostdahl.

"Statoil believes strongly in a long life for the NCS. These two rigs will be good workhorses there for the next 20-30 years."

Statoil has secured flexibility with regard to the length of the contracts and can wait until 2008 before deciding their final length. With options, Statoil has the possibility of securing use of the rigs for up to 20 years.

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