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Equinor Hires West Hercules Rig for Drilling in Barents Sea

Zacks Equity Research
Equinor (EQNR) hires West Hercules for two exploration wells in the Barents Sea, which includes options for drilling nine additional wells.

Equinor ASA EQNR has awarded a drilling contract to a subsidiary of Seadrill Ltd. SDRL, Seadrill Norway Operations Ltd, for the use of semi-submersible rig, West Hercules.

The contract relates to drilling of two exploration wells in the Barents Sea with options for drilling nine additional wells. Drilling is anticipated to commence in the spring of 2019. The rig is mainly allocated for exploration drilling. Based on a master framework agreement, the contract has been established between Equinor and Seadrill.

Seadrill is accountable for integrated drilling services, which include casing running, remote-operated vessel (ROV), slop treatment and cuttings management.

The day rate has not been revealed but recent fixtures show that it is likely to be about $300,000.With improving oil prices, the contract news flow is ramping up in the offshore drilling space. Recently, Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM hired Seadrill Partners LLC’s SDLP semi-submersible drilling rig —West Aquarius —to drill a well offshore Canada.

In2018, the company plans to drill 40 wells, of which 25-30 wells will be in the Norwegian Continental Shelf (“NCS”) and 8 wells will be located onshore.Equinor’s endeavors to improve recovery of resources in mature fields are commendable. The company has operations in all major hydrocarbon-producing regions of the world, with an emphasis on the NCS.

We believe that Equinor is well positioned to sustain steady production growth in the next few years on the back of its large resource base at NCS. So far in 2018, the company has discovered 240 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Price Performance

In the past year, Equinor’s shares have rallied 33.6% compared with the industry’s 23.1% increase.


Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Equinor currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A few better-ranked players in the same sector are Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. PBR or Petrobras SA and Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. HLX. All these stocks flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Petrobras is the largest integrated energy firm in Brazil and one of the major players in Latin America. It pulled off an average positive earnings surprise of 10.4% in the last four quarters.

Helix Energy offers specialty services to the offshore energy industry. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 66.7% in the trailing four quarters.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras (PBR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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