July 5, 2011 / 2:34 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Statoil orders 2 drilling rigs for $2.5 bln

* Orders 2 rigs from Songa Offshore for work off Norway

* Considering order of 2 further rigs, may own them

* Statoil will consider extra order in H2 2011

(Adds detail)

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO, July 5 (Reuters) - Norwegian oil firm Statoil said on Tuesday it would hire two yet-to-be-built drilling rigs from Oslo-listed Songa Offshore for $2.47 billion and was considering ordering two extra new rigs this year.

The oil firm is seeking more effective and standardised new-build rigs to work on Norway’s maturing oilfields. The number of wells drilled off Norway needs to be doubled or tripled in existing fields, according to Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro.

The contract for the two category D rigs is worth a combined $2.47 billion for a fixed eight-year charter period, Statoil said. The rigs will be built at a shipyard of Daewoo shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in South Korea.

Norway’s Aker Solutions will supply the drilling equipment, it said.

“We have a need for increased capacity on the Norwegian continental shelf,” Jon Arnt Jacobsen, Statoil’s chief procurement officer, told Reuters after the firm’s announcement.

“We will evaluate two new rigs,” he added. “In the second half of this year, we will have more details if and when we order two more rigs.”

Jacobsen said, if the conditions were right, Statoil may decide to own these two new rigs. “(If we do it) it would be because of a combination of commercial terms and flexibility.”

Songa said Statoil ordered the rigs on behalf of license participants in the Troll field, the largest gas field off Norway.

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