Equinor Launches Competition to Design New Robotics Based Drilling Rig
Norway’s Equinor has invited drilling contractors to participate in a contest to design a new streamlined semi-submersible rig based on advanced robotics and digitalisation. The paper outlines how the state-controlled energy company recently invited contractors to a presentation of its specifications for the so-called “rig of the future” and has given them a deadline of 30 August this year by which to submit their proposed concepts.
Equinor wants to drastically reduce the need for manpower onboard, as well as cut fuel consumption and halve current operating costs of around $150,000 per day with the new rig that would take advantage of the latest advances in technology. The unit would be based on a more streamlined design than conventional rigs with a smaller drilling tower, reduced accommodation capacity and less equipment onboard.
Once a rig concept is selected, Equinor could be in the market for one or more newbuilds based on the new design – mirroring an earlier exercise for four so-called Cat-D midwater semi-submersible rigs. The winning contractor is likely to be rewarded with lucrative long-term contracts, similar to the eight-year deals with options for the Cat-Ds that were awarded to the former Songa Offshore before its takeover by Transocean. The rationale for the new rig initiative is to realise a unit with lower drilling costs per well so that the lives of existing fields can be extended by making tail-end resources profitable to exploit.