A drilling rig under contract to Equinor lost its position and drifted for over five miles during a recent storm in Norway.
The Transocean Encourage rig lost its position in the Norwegian Sea during Storm Ingunn last week, one of the strongest storms to hit Norway in decades.
A spokesperson for the Norwegian Ocean Industry Authority confirmed details of the incident to Energy Voice.
“Transocean has reported to us that the incident was caused by the weather in the area,” the spokesperson said.
“The rig was disconnected from the well and in a safe position awaiting the storm. The rig drifted off position approximately 9,000 metres.
“No damage has been reported, either on Transocean Encourage other facilities or pipelines due to the incident.”
Energy Voice contacted Transocean for comment on the incident involving the Encourage.
The harsh-environment semi-submersible rig can hold a crew of up to 130 people, although it’s unclear how many were onboard the rig during the incident.
It’s also unclear what operations the Encourage was undertaking at the time, although the rig has been under contract to Equinor for the past eight years
The contract expired on December 1, however Equinor and Transocean signed a new contract extension and collaboration agreement in March last year for the Encourage and Enabler rigs.
The planned drilling programme in the Norwegian Sea consists of nine wells to be drilled on the Tyrihans, Verdande, Andvare and Vigdis fields in the Tampen area.
Storm Ingunn sees drilling rig go adrift
Storm Ingunn also impacted floating wind operations in Norway as hurricane level winds and wave heights of 11 metres battered offshore infrastructure.
According to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, the Storm Ingunn appeared to set a new record for average wind speed in Norway.
Storm Ingunn was an exceptional Atlantic storm that gave sustained winds of 122mph & 116mph respectively, to Norway & Sweden. If confirmed, these will be new wind records for both nations. The gusts were even stronger! Far stronger than even the winds in The Great Storm of 1987! pic.twitter.com/rL17btqyF9
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) February 1, 2024
Storms hit North Sea oil rigs
The Transocean Encourage incident is not the first time an oil rig has drifted during a storm in the North Sea.
A similar incident occurred in the UK North Sea last year when a drilling rig came adrift during Storm Babet.
Two rescue helicopters flew to the aid of oil workers at the Stena Spey in October after it lost anchors amid turbulent waves.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) later blamed poor procedures for the Stena Spey incident, which it said placed the safety of the crew at risk.
Extreme weather also caused a Valaris drillship to break its moorings off the coast of Ayrshire in 2021.