Norwegian integrated energy company StatoilHydro has awarded a five-year NOK5 billion contract to Aker Drilling for drilling operations in the Norwegian Sea.

The contract was awarded in December 2006, but StatoilHydro has had until now to decide the final length of the fixed part of the contract, beyond a minimum period of three years.

The Aker Drilling rig Aker Spitsbergen will be used for the drilling assignment at Halten Nordland in the Norwegian Sea. The sixth generation rig is reportedly designed for assignment on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, where deep waters and tough weather pose operational challenges.

The construction of the rig is reportedly in full progress at the Aker Kvaerner yard at Stord, Norway. The Aker Spitsbergen is scheduled to be delivered at the end of July 2008.