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Equinor Uses Pioneering Spirit to Install Drilling Platform

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Equinor ASA (EQNR - Free Report) along with its partners in the Johan Sverdrup field announced that the 22,000-ton topside for the drilling platform was positioned in one lift attempt.

Equinor and partners are the first users in the world of this revolutionary technology that enables the installation of big, new topsides in a single lift.  The topside for the Johan Sverdrup drilling platform was shipped from the Aibel yard in Haugesund to Bomlafjorden at Stord. Thereafter, the 22,000-ton steel structure was shifted from the barge to Pioneering Spirit, the world’s biggest heavy-lift vessel, ready to be installed in the jacket at the topside on the Johan Sverdrup field.

The installation took only three hours, since initial preparations were completed before. This makes it the quickest ever installation of a large, fully-completed topside. Notably, installation of the second of four platforms in the first development phase of the giant Johan Sverdrup field is complete.

This technology is a game changer for the industry. It has resulted in huge savings in the construction and installation phases, in terms of man hours and expenses. Initially, the technology was developed to eradicate scrapped platforms.

Till now, big topsides have been designed in a modular shape. There were no crane vessels able to lift more than 12,000 tons in one lift. Allseas‘ Pioneering Spirit vessel, enables entire topsides of about 48,000 tons to be lifted in a single lift.

Installation of the last two topside structures in the first phase of the development is expected in the spring of 2019. Pioneering Spirit will be put in contract by the company for the same as well.

The use of the Pioneering Spirit has facilitated the Johan Sverdrup partnership to submit a Plan for development and operation (PDO) for Phase 1. The field was commissioned three to six months earlier than expected with other topside installation solutions. Simultaneously, the vessel has also helped in reducing the estimated costs for the PDO by about NOK 1 billion and lowers offshore man hour by one million.

The last phase — hook-up and testing —will begin now that the Johan Sverdrup drilling platform is complete and 85% tested. The platform is due to come online in autumn of 2018. The tie-back to the platform of eight wells pre-drilled by the Deepsea Atlantic semi-submersible in 2016 is expected to begin by the end of this year.

Subsequently, the drilling platform will begin drilling new wells on the field for the first and second phase of the Johan Sverdrup development. In aggregate, about 48 wells are likely to be drilled.

Price Performance

In the past three months, Equinor’s shares have gained 15% compared with the industry’s 7.7% rise.


Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks

Equinor currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

A few other top-ranked players in the same sector are Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC - Free Report) , China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (SNP - Free Report) and CVR Refining, LP . These stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Anadarko Petroleum is one of the world's largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies. It pulled off an average positive earnings surprise of 89.24% in the last four quarters.

Sinopec is one of the largest petroleum and petrochemical companies in Asia. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 492.8% in the last four quarters.

Sugar Land, TX-based CVR Refining is an independent downstream energy partnership with refining and associated logistics properties in the Midcontinent United States. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 7.05% in the last four quarters.

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