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Maersk Drilling’s first low-emission rig shows promising emission reduction levels

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After successfully being converted to a hybrid, low-emission rig, the Maersk Intrepid has entered operations as the first Maersk Drilling rig to feature this set of upgrades. The Maersk Intrepid is currently working for Equinor on the Martin Linge field where the ultra-harsh environment jackup in November this year commenced its first drilling operation with the full low-emission package in use.

The full technology package was expected to deliver a double-digit energy savings potential, and this has now been confirmed on the Maersk Intrepid, where the first month of operations on Martin Linge produced an initial data point of reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by approximately 25% compared to the baseline average for the rig. In addition, NOx emissions were reduced by approximately 95%, an improvement from the original target of 90%.

The installation of low-emission technology is one of several initiatives that support Maersk Drilling’s efforts to reach the company’s recently announced target of reducing its CO2 emissions intensity by 50% by 2030. Other initiatives relating to CO2 reductions include operating rigs on shore power and participation in the Project Greensand consortium, which is targeting the use of discontinued oil and gas fields for permanent storage of CO2 offshore Denmark.

“We’re thrilled to now see the full complement of low-emission technology in use on the Maersk Intrepid and to receive a very promising first dataset on emission reductions,” said Caroline Alting, Head of Integrity & Projects, Maersk Drilling. “It’s still too early to make any definitive conclusions on average emission reductions over time, but the preliminary results are very promising with reductions around 25% compared to the rig’s baseline, driven by both energy-saving technology and behavioral changes supported by the low-emission package. We want to do our part in the transition towards a sustainable energy future, and we’re thankful for the engagement of our customer Equinor and the NOx Fund in realizing this project.”

The hybrid, low-emission upgrades installed on the Maersk Intrepid are supported by a grant from the Norwegian NOx Fund and by Equinor’s decision to introduce compensation formats to stimulate emission reductions. The upgrades combine the use of hybrid power with NOx conversion units, adding data intelligence to further reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. As part of the Master Frame Agreement between Maersk Drilling and Equinor, the parties have committed to exploring further initiatives to limit greenhouse gas emissions from drilling operations.

The full package of hybrid, low-emissions upgrades is also being installed on the ultra-harsh environment jackup rig Maersk Integrator, which is expected to start operating in full low-emission mode in early 2021 in Norway.

“Maersk Drilling shows that it is technically and financially feasible to retrofit offshore rigs with low-emission solutions,” said Tommy Johnsen, General Manager of the NOx Fund. “It is also important that the ambitions do not stop there, but, as in this case, that the new technology opens for further reductions towards a zero-emission future. If Norway is to meet its national emission targets, it is crucial that offshore rigs contribute with their share, and with the improvements on the Maersk Intrepid, Maersk Drilling is showing the way. The NOx Fund is ready for more applications of similar character and hopes that rig operators and entrepreneurs together can develop new projects.”

The Maersk Intrepid is an ultra-harsh environment CJ70 jackup rig, designed for year-round operations in the North Sea. It was delivered in 2014 and has been operating in Norway ever since.

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