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Transocean, on 5 December, confirmed that it had completed the acquisition of drilling contractor Ocean Rig. Completion followed quickly after both sets of shareholders approved the deal on 29 November; the deal has been sealed way ahead of the original target of first-quarter 2019. The outcome sees Transocean immediately adding nine high-spec deepwater drillships and two high-spec semi-submersibles to its fleet, along with another two drillships, which are currently under construction. One of the semisubs is the North Sea-based Leiv Eiriksson, which was built in 2001 and can operate in water depths of up to 7,500 feet.
Shell, together with partners ExxonMobil and BP, has taken a final investment decision for a plan to re-route gas from the Shearwater infrastructure hub in the Central North Sea. Dry gas produced on the Shearwater platform, in block 22/30, currently flows via the Shearwater Elgin area line (SEAL) pipeline to the Bacton terminal in Norfolk. Under the plan, the platform will be modified and a 37-km pipeline from the Fulmar gasline to Shearwater will be installed, enabling wet gas to flow into the Shell Esso gas and associated liquids (SEGAL) pipeline. The SEAL line will continue to operate with gas flowing from the Elgin-Franklin field.
Equinor has been granted Norwegian energy ministry approval for the PDO of the Troll phase three development. Capital expenditures of NKr7.8 billion ($910 million) will help extend the productive life of the Troll field beyond 2050. Contracts totalling an estimated NKr950 million for marine installations and subsea facilities for Troll phase three have been awarded to Nexans, Deep Ocean, IKM, Allseas and Marubeni. In addition, contracts worth around NKr2 billion have been awarded to Aker Solutions for subsea facilities and the construction of a new processing module on the Troll A platform.