April 3 (UPI) -- More than $1.5 billion in contracts for drilling services were awarded to companies for work in Norwegian waters, energy major Statoil said.
The company said Tuesday it awarded contracts to energy services companies for work ranging from maintenance to drilling on 18 of Statoil's fixed platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf.
Drilling services company Archer Ltd. received the bulk of the four-year contracts for work offshore Norway. Combined, Archer took in about half of the total contract value.
Services companies were among those hardest hit by a market downturn that saw the price of crude oil drop below $30 per barrel in early 2016. Archer reported fourth quarter revenue of $223.7 million, a 5 percent increase over the previous quarter.
The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was closer to $68 per barrel early Tuesday.
All of the contracts awarded by Statoil carry a four-year term, effective Oct. 1. The company said the contracts will ensure safe and reliable operations on the Norwegian continental shelf.
"The contracts are aimed at improving our joint competitiveness and enabling a sound level of activities," Statoil's chief procurement officer, Pål Eitrheim, said in a statement.
Statoil is one of the leading producers of oil and gas in the world, drawing on reserves from the North Sea to the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Equity production in the fourth quarter was 2.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, almost a 2 percent increase from the previous year.
The government owns shares in Statoil, which had income of $5.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to a loss of $1.9 million in the same period of 2016.
The board of directors at Statoil in March proposed a name change to Equinor -- drawing in part on words like "equal" and "nor" to signify its Norwegian roots.