From a six-month subsea residency milestone for an underwater robot to contract awards, below is a compilation of the latest headlines in the E&P space. 

VAALCO Scoops up More Baobab Interest

VAALCO Energy Inc. announced April 30 that it closed the acquisition of Stockholm-based Svenska Petroleum Exploration AB

Through the $40.2 million acquisition, VAALCO gains access to the E&P’s primary asset, which is a 27.39% non-operated working interest in the deepwater producing Baobab Field in Block CI-40, offshore Cote d’Ivoire. 

BW Closes Sale of Polvo FPSO

BW Offshore Ltd. announced May 3 it concluded its sale of the Polvo FPSO to BW Energy Ltd. for $50 million. 

The Polvo FPSO, originally built for operation in the Polvo Field located offshore Brazil, successfully completed 14 years of production before being demobilized in 2021. After its acquisition by BW Energy, the unit is currently set to undergo refurbishment in China, preparing for its forthcoming redeployment at the Maromba Field in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil.

Amplus Creates West Africa JV

Amplus Energy announced May 2 it is forming the Amplus VGE joint venture with Nigeria-based Versatile Group (VG Energy) to target reserves in marginal fields offshore West Africa.

The deal is supported by Norway’s Carbon Circle. 

Amplus VGE is making long-term investment in the region, including the recent opening of a new Nigerian office in Abuja and plans to create more local employment opportunities, essential skills training and development.

Amplus recently made large investments in Carbon Circle to support the growth of the emerging carbon capture industry and enhance Amplus field development and FPSO operations.

Enteq Testing SABER Tool in Australia

Enteq Technologies said May 1 it has kicked off an extensive multiwell testing program in Australia. 

Enteq’s Steer-At-Bit Enteq Rotary (SABER) Tool and team arrived in Australia in late March, and testing started in April.  

The SABER Tool, based on a concept originally developed by Shell, has been field proven in a range of operating environments during testing in Norway and the Catoosa test facility in Oklahoma last year. This latest testing campaign will see the tool testing across a series of wells in Australia.  

Unique Group Acquires Subsea Innovation

A fully automated 44 structural pipeline repair clamp designed and engineered by Subsea Innovation. (Source: Unique Group)

UAE-based Unique Group announced on May 3 it is acquiring Subsea Innovation. 

Subsea Innovation, based in the U.K., was part of Tekmar Group Plc and has built and delivered more than 450 equipment systems. Unique Group specializes in offshore deck equipment, including launch and recovery systems, engineering consulting, emergency pipeline repair systems and tailored solutions for subsea and renewable markets. 

Saipem’s Hydrone-R Reaches Residency Milestone

Saipem’s underwater intervention drone Hydrone-R, currently operating on Equinor's Njord Field development project offshore Norway, has achieved the milestone for a continuous subsea residency of 167 days, Saipem announced May 6.

The project, for which Saipem’s Hydrone-R is deployed, is part of a 10-year contract signed in 2019 with Equinor. The drone is tasked to carry out inspections and interventions on subsea assets, providing information about potential hazards and improving the overall integrity and safety of Equinor’s subsea systems. 

The Hydrone-R had been operating uninterruptedly for nearly six months, performing remotely operated works as well as autonomous missions. Saipem's onshore control center in Stavanger, Norway, is fully supervising the operations via the communication link to the rig. Saipem’s drone pilots can either command the Hydrone-R or upload purposely designed missions onboard the vehicle for autonomous tasks.

Optime Wins ROCS Work from Aker BP

Aker BP awarded Optime Subsea a contract to develop and deliver five remotely operated controls systems (ROCS) for use on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Optime Subsea announced May 6.

The contract is valid for three years with options for two one-year extensions.

The five ROCS will be deployed on the Skarv satellite projects: Symra and Solveig Phase 2 (Utsira High) and Yggdrasil. In total, these fields have approximately 55 wells that are planned for completion with the ROCS. 

The five ROCS will be equipped with a new tubing hanger orientation system, known as OTHOS. This system ensures precise positioning of the tubing hanger, eliminating the necessity for intricate and time-consuming rig interface work.

Optime Subsea will manufacture the five ROCS at the company’s headquarter in Notodden, Norway.

Optime Subsea's ROCS eliminates the need for the umbilical, which traditionally connects the surface to the seabed for controlling the tubing hanger in subsea well completions, and the associated topside hydraulic control unit to reduce capex investments.

TGS Snags OBN Contract

TGS announced on May 6 it won an ocean-bottom node data acquisition contract for work in North America. 

The six-month-plus contract is from a returning client.

Archer Wins 2-Year Extension

Archer Ltd. announced April 30 it had won a two-year contract extension valued at $40 million for platform drilling services in the U.K.

The extension started May 1 in direct continuation of the current contract. Over the next two years, Archer will continue to deliver drilling operations, maintenance and rig reactivation services for the customer.

Shelf Drilling Fortress Snags North Sea Work

Shelf Drilling Ltd. announced April 30 that the Shelf Drilling Fortress jackup won a contract for operations on the U.K. Continental Shelf in the North Sea. Valued at $54 million, the contract is for about 400 days with start-up operations in August 2024 in direct continuation of the rig’s current contract.  

Petrobras Taps DOF for Vessels

DOF announced April 30 that Norskan Offshore Ltda. and DOF Subsea Servicos Brasil Ltda won new long-term charter and service contracts valued at more than $192 million from Petrobras.

The Skandi Amazonas vessel had been on the spot market and was chartered for three firm years with two optional years. The vessel is expected to be delivered between mid-May and mid-June.

The Skandi Rio vessel, currently operating for Petrobras and equipped with DOF Subsea’s work class ROV, has been contracted for four firm years and one optional year with Petrobras. The contract is planned to begin during the third quarter of 2024 following the current contract. 

Valaris Reports Fleet Contracts

Valaris Ltd. announced new contracts and extensions valued at $480 million in its April 30 fleet status report.

Exxon Mobil exercised a six-month option for drillship VALARIS DS-9 starting in January 2025 in direct continuation of the existing firm program. 

Equinor exercised a 60-day option offshore Brazil for drillship VALARIS DS-17, expected to start in May 2025 in direct continuation of the existing firm contract, at an operating day rate of $497,000, including managed pressure drilling and additional services. 

Jackup VALARIS 144 won a 13-well contract offshore Angola. The contract, valued between $149 million and $156 million, is expected to start in the second quarter 2025 and last between 730 days and 770 days. 

TotalEnergies exercised a one-well option in the U.K. North Sea for heavy duty harsh environment jackup VALARIS Stavanger. The well has an estimated duration of 30 days and will be added to the existing firm program, increasing the total contract value by approximately $4 million. 

BP extended contracts by three years in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico for managed rigs Mad Dog and Thunder Horse, effective Jan. 27, 2024, and valued at $259 million.

Regulatory updates

NSTA Fines Perenco for Venting Without Consent

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has fined Perenco U.K. Ltd. about $280,000 for venting 59 tonnes of gas for over a month from its Dimlington onshore gas processing plant without consent.

The company had permission to vent 235 tonnes from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022, but exceeded that limit on Nov. 6, 2022, and vented the extra gas until a new consent was issued on Dec. 14, 2022.

The company produces natural gas from fields in the Southern North Sea and operates terminals in Dimlington, East Yorkshire and Bacton in East Anglia.

Perenco stated that it had systems to track the daily volumes of gas it emitted. However, there was an absence of internal mechanisms to ensure that any risks identified through this system were appropriately acted on, according to NSTA.