New Goliat rig not built for arctic conditions

The drilling rig Scarabeo 8 (photo) is under construction in Italy and will be used to develop the Goliat field outside northern Norway. However, the Norwegian petroleum safety authority has demanded operator ENI to make several improvements on the rig before it will be allowed to operate in the Barents Sea.

Drilling in the harsh arctic climate of the Barents Sea require special constructions on the rig. The operator of the Goliat oil field, ENI Norway, is waiting for the completion of the Scarabeo 8 from the Italian ship yard Fincantieri. However, the Norwegian petroleum safety authority was not satisfied with the rig when they controlled the rig plans.

“Rigs which are going to work in the Barents Sea during the winter season have to be reinforced for winter conditions. If this is not done, the rig will never be allowed to drill in this area,” says Øyvind Tuntland in the petroleum safety authority to Stavanger Aftenblad.

ENI Norway says that the rig will be winter reinforced, but that is not what the Norwegian inspectors were told in Italy. The Goliat field development will start in 2010 and production of oil will start in 2013.

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