Archer lands industry first with oil well capping for Statoil

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ARCHER, the Aberdeen-based oilfield services group, has claimed a first for the industry by using a modular rig to plug and abandon 12 gas wells for Norwegian firm Statoil.

Work on the three-year deal in the Heimdal field, worth an estimated $115 million (£73m), is due to begin in the second half of next year, using a rig being built specifically for the task by German firm Max Streicher.

Archer said it would be the first time a modular rig has been used to carry out plugging and abandonment operations, and described the move as a “major advancement” for the industry.

It said modular facilities are lighter and more compact than traditional rigs, reducing the size of the crew and the construction costs.

Kjetil Bjørnson, the firm’s president and general manager for the North Sea region, said: “We are excited to secure our first modular rig contract in the North Sea, which is the market the modular rig was designed for.”

Norway’s oil industry safety watchdog last week ordered Statoil to improve safety procedures at its Heimdal platform following a gas leak last year. The facility had to be evacuated in May after the testing of two emergency shutdown valves went wrong, causing 3.5 tonnes of gas to leak out on to the platform in about four minutes.

Bjørnson said: “We have worked with Statoil since 1984; it is a strong and important relationship to us. We look forward to commencing work on the Heimdal field next year and further strengthening this relationship through the quality of our employees and our service offering.”