Danish drilling rig operator Maersk Drilling has announced its plans to convert its existing jack-up rig Maersk Intrepid into a new low-emission hybrid drilling rig.

8May - Maersk

Image: The upgrades are being carried out in cooperation with Maersk Intrepid’s current customer, Equinor. Photo: Courtesy of Maersk Drilling.

The Maersk Intrepid, an ultra-harsh environment jack-up rig, will undergo a series of upgrades to convert it to a hybrid rig with low levels of NOx emissions, adding data intelligence to further reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Maersk has been carrying out upgrades on its Intrepid, in cooperation with the current customer Equinor, which has introduced compensation formats to stimulate emission reductions.

Maersk Drilling CCIO Morten Kelstrup said: “The Maersk Intrepid project is the result of asking a simple yet challenging question: What would be the most efficient technological approach to minimising emissions from a rig in the short term? The resulting ideas have been very positively received by Equinor and will contribute to Equinor’s long-term emission targets.

“It should be noted that the upgrades will not only produce a low-emission profile for the rig; they will also result in cost savings for our customer due to lower energy consumption, so this is business and low-emission targets working hand in hand.”

Maersk Drilling said that it has applied for the project funding through the NOx Fund, a Norwegian industry fund dedicated to reducing NOx emissions.

The fund is expected to sanction a grant of up to 80% of project costs, based on the verification of the emission-reducing upgrades.

The first upgrade of rig will see the installation of batteries for the hybrid power solution, which is expected to be completed in July this year. All low-emission upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

NOx Fund general manager Tommy Johnsen said: “The NOx Fund has requested these types of emission reduction projects for a long time, and finally they are being realised.

“Here Maersk Drilling takes the lead by showing that cost-efficient measures to significantly reduce NOx can be combined with reduced CO2 emissions and improved fuel efficiency. Hopefully we will see more of these and similar solutions on board rigs going forward.”

Built in 2014, Maersk Intrepid is currently contracted to Equinor for operational support on the Martin Linge field offshore Norway.