Equinor has exercised options for seven wells to extend the use of Odfjell Drilling’s Deepsea Aberdeen on the NOK21bn ($1.9bn) Breidablikkn field in the Norwegian North Sea.

Deepsea Aberdeen is an improved GVA7500 harsh environment design rig for operations at water depths of up to 3,000m.

The contract extension has a value of about $138m and it does not include integrated services, performance and fuel incentives.

Besides the exercised wells, the contract includes further optional periods. Once exercised, Equinor could keep the Deepsea Aberdeen contracted until 2029.

The optional periods comprise six optional wells followed by three additional optional periods of eight wells each or nearly three times one year.

Odfjell Drilling said that the rates for all such optional periods are to be mutually agreed upon before exercising.

The extended contract is scheduled to commence in mid-Q1 2025 in direct continuation of the current firm period. It will extend the firm backlog on the Deepsea Aberdeen to the end of Q4 2025.

Odfjell Drilling CEO Kjetil Gjersdal said: “With the exercised optional wells Odfjell Drilling will see substantial cash flow earlier than forecasted as the rig moves to a higher day rate level.

“The extension mechanisms now agreed could see the Deepsea Aberdeen remain in continuous operation with Equinor until 2029, delivering strong, predictable cash generation from the unit.”

The letter of intent to Odfjell Drilling and the Deepsea Aberdeen rig for drilling of 15 wells for the Breidablikk field was issued by Equinor in October 2020.

Last month, Equinor and its partners started production from the Breidablikk field, four months ahead of schedule and within the budget.

The offshore field has been developed as a subsea tie back to the Equinor-operated Grane platform. The Breidablikk subsea field contains nearly 200 million barrels of recoverable oil.