20 August 2014, News Wires – Norwegian technology developer Badger Explorer has enlisted state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to provide funding for its project to develop an autonomous subsea drilling tool.
The Stavanger-based player has signed a co-operation deal with CNPC’s Drilling Research Institute whereby the Chinese giant will be brought onboard as a sponsor of a demonstrator programme to develop a pilot Badger Explorer unit.
CNPC is reported by Norwegian daily Dagens Naeringsliv to be willing to stump up Nkr60 million ($9.7 million) to back development of the revolutionary technology that would be deployed to carry out remote drilling on the seabed, eliminating the need for a costly rig.
The company would provide an initial Nkr15 million, with a further injection of Nkr45 million subject to a subsequent agreement.
The project is already being sponsored by heavyweight backers Statoil, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Wintershall, with further financial backing coming from Norway’s Research Council and private investors.
Development work on the tool has so far cost a reported Nkr360 million and the company estimates a further Nkr200 million will be required to bring it to fruition, according to the paper.
Badger has previously stated it aims to have a beta version of the tool ready for a field pilot scheduled for early 2015, though commercialisation is a few more years down the road.