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AoC for West Phoenix

The West Phoenix mobile drilling unit operated by Seadrill Management AS has received an acknowledgement of compliance (AoC) from the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway. This facility represents the first in a series of brand new mobile units which are due to be used on the Norwegian continental shelf.

AoC document: Seadrill was handed the AoC for West Phoenix in a simple ceremony at the PSA on 13 June. From left: Ruth Lien, Finn Carlsen and Svein Harald Glette of the PSA, and Siv June Hellevik and Leif Kvamme from Seadrill.

Offshore exploration on the NCS and elsewhere has been restricted for several years by a shortage of rigs. High oil prices and big demand are now driving the construction of a number of such vessels worldwide.

Forecasts indicate that seven-eight new mobile drilling units will be in operation on the NCS alone within a couple of years. Built by Samsung Shipyard in South Korea, West Phoenix is accordingly the first of many.

Seadrill applied last October to have its newbuilding covered by an AoC, an essential requirement before a mobile drilling unit can work in the petroleum sector on the NCS.

“We take a very positive view of the modernisation of drilling vessels intended to operate on the NCS,” says Finn Carlsen, PSA director of supervisory activities.

“At the same time, it’s important that these installations satisfy safety requirements and contribute to an improvement in the level of safety on the NCS. We’ve accordingly pursued a detailed dialogue with drilling contractors who’ve resolved to build new rigs intended for these waters.”

Once the PSA received the AoC application for West Epsilon, a number of activities were launched as part of its consideration procedure.

“We had a good dialogue with Seadrill both before and during the application process,” explains Svein Harald Glette, the PSA’s coordinator for AoC requests.

“To enhance understanding by the yard of the Norwegian regulations and the AoC procedure, Seadrill organised a meeting there with the local management and ourselves.

“That allowed us to present key principles and requirements relating to petroleum operations on the NCS. Seadrill reported that our provision of such information directly to the fabricator made a useful contribution to the job of building West Phoenix.”

Certificates West Phoenix
The drilling unit is registered in Norway, and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD) has issued it with the appropriate certificates.

“We’ve been able to build on that in our consideration, and it helps to form the basis for issuing an AoC,” says Glette. “The Board of Health for Rogaland county also provided assistance.”

Receipt of the AoC means that Seadrill must ensure that the assumptions applied during the approval process are met by the company and that activity complies with the requirements in the continental shelf regulations.

Designed for deepwater operation, West Phoenix is due to begin a three-year contract with Total Norge in the third quarter this year, starting in the Norwegian Sea.

Contact in the PSA
Finn Carlsen, director of supervisory activities
E-mail: finn.carlsen@ptil.no