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The Deepwater Abeerdeen rig. Image courtesy of

BP said Wednesday it has kicked off a seven year drilling campaign in offshore Shetland after spudding a well at the Loyal field with the new-build, semi-submersible Deepsea Aberdeen.

The Deepsea Aberdeen is contracted to drill wells across the Schiehallion and Loyal fields, as part of the Quad 204 development, and can drill in depths up to 9,842 feet.

The rig, designed by Odfjell Drilling, will initially drill two producer wells and one injector well on Loyal before moving onto Schiehallion to continue drilling activities.

Five wells are planned to be drilled prior to first oil from the new Glen Lyon floating, production, storage and offload vessel at the end of 2016.

“The drilling campaign not only demonstrates our commitment to the Region in what is a challenging time, but will also help maximize production from Schiehallion and Loyal, contributing to the long term competitiveness of BP’s North Sea business,” Regional President for BP’s North Sea business  Trevor Garlick said.

Earlier this year BP said it would cut 300 jobs cut  at its UK North Sea operations as part of a larger $976 million restructuring plan.

The UK North Sea saw the number of new wells drop from 50 to 40 last year as upstreams contend with skyrocketing costs in the region and weak oil prices.