Husky Energy signs rig contract

Norway's Seadrill to provide harsh environment semi-submersible

Published on November 12, 2012
A concept design for Seadrill's West Mira rig, which is still under construction. The semi-submersible rig is set to be used by Husky Energy off the coast of Newfoundland beginning in 2015.
Submitted graphic courtesy of Husky Energy

A company heavily invested in Newfoundland and Lab-rador's offshore industry has signed an agreement to use the services of a semi-submersible unit for drilling wells.

Husky Energy and Seadrill have entered into a five-year agreement that will allow Husky to use the West Mira semi-submersible rig. It will come into effect in 2015, when the new rig is set to be completed.

"Husky has a strategy of growth for the Atlantic region, and securing the rig capacity to deliver that growth is obviously vital, so we're delighted to have secured a rig of this capability for the five-year term," said Martyn Fear, vice-president of drilling and completions for Husky in the Atlantic region.

The West Mira is designed to operate in both harsh and mild environments, according to information available on the Seadrill website. The Norwegian company indicates the rig will be capable of drilling to a maximum depth of 12,200 metres.

Husky Energy would not release financial details of the agreement, advising that such inquiries should be made to Seadrill. Officials with Seadrill could not be reached for comment.

Fear said the rig will be called upon for exploration and development drilling. A yearlong process that considered available options on a global scale informed the decision to use the Seadrill rig, he added.

"This is a very important achievement for Husky to secure a rig of this capability, when the rig fleet, overall, has been fully utilized around the world since 2005, so capacity is tight."

Husky has also extended its contract to use GSF Grand Banks. The 32-month extension will see the semi-submersible's use continue into 2015. Fear could not say whether the West Mira rig will eventually take over work previously handled by GSF Grand Banks.

"The program of work that we have beyond 2015 will be influenced by exploration and development results between now and then, so it would be premature of us to predict our total rig requirements beyond that point."

Husky has also used the Henry Goodrich offshore drill rig in Newfoundland. A hydraulic cylinder was dropped onboard in late August, and a safety review was initiated the following month. Fear said the current contract for use of the Henry Goodrich expires in the second quarter of 2014.

"Utilization of that rig beyond that time is the subject of discussions with the other operators and the rig owner (Transocean Ltd.) at this point," he said. Twitter: @TeleAndrew