Norway has concerns about Transocean rig

March 21 (UPI) — A safety regulator in Norway said Wednesday there were a number of emergency issues uncovered during an audit of a Transocean rig.

The Petroleum Safety Authority issued an order to Transocean following an audit that ended in early February at the company’s Spitsbergen mobile drilling unit.

“The audit identified a number of breaches of the regulations in the emergency preparedness and logistics discipline area,” the PSA said in a statement. “A number of these non-conformities related to conditions identified during audits of other Transocean facilities.”

Norwegian energy company Statoil and its partners working in the British offshore license areas contracted Transocean last year for use of its Spitsbergen rig for three exploration wells and six production wells.

Securing the rig for Statoil was part of an effort to tap into the Mariner field, which was expected to reach a peak production rate of around 55,000 barrels of oil per day later this year. The contract value for the combined services in the British North Sea, which extend beyond Mariner into Norwegian waters, is more than $100 million.

Transocean did not disclose the day rate for the rig. The company last year was forced to cut some of the rates it charges to lease its rigs after seeing dozens of contracts cancelled.

Transocean, which recently acquired rival rig company Songa Offshore, said revenues from its drilling contracts declined $110 million to $589 million for the three months ending Dec. 31. The company attributed the decline to fewer operating days, as well as lower lease rates for some of its rigs.

Statoil had no comment on the PSA’s order. Transocean has until April 11 to respond to the agency’s concerns.

Norway is one of Europe’s top oil and gas producers. The government reported preliminary total production for February was down 2 percent from January.

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