Ensco has exercised one of two options for an additional advanced-capability, DP3 ultra-deepwater drillship based on the Samsung GF12000 hull design. The vessel, ENSCO DS-9, will be the seventh Samsung DP3 drillship in the Ensco fleet. It will be built at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea, with delivery scheduled for Q4 2014. This announcement follows Ensco’s order for ENSCO DS-8, the first drillship based on the GF12000 hull design, in April.
“Our decision to order two ultra-deepwater drillships over the past three months is predicated on detailed analysis of several important factors. Customer demand has continued to rise and has become even more broad-based due to new discoveries in emerging basins. The near-term supply of deepwater rigs is limited, and we believe supply-demand dynamics will continue to support favorable dayrates, which have risen sharply over the past year,” Dan Rabun, chairman, president and CEO of Ensco, said. “Significant interest in our latest-design drillships gives us confidence that customers recognize the technological advantages of our drillships relative to competitors and the benefits we provide from rig standardization. Finally, the delivery schedule and financing terms support favorable returns for these incremental investments in our fleet.”
Including commissioning, systems integration testing, project management and spares, the construction cost is expected to be comparable to the amount recently announced for ENSCO DS-8 of approximately $645 million. Both units will have advanced capabilities to meet the demands of ultra-deepwater drilling in water depths of up to 12,000 ft and a total vertical drilling depth of 40,000 ft, plus retractable thrusters; enhanced safety and environmental features; improved dynamic positioning capabilities; and advanced drilling and completion functionality, including below-main-deck riser storage, triple fluid systems, offline conditioning capability and enhanced client and third-party facilities.
The new drillship is based on the proprietary Samsung GF12000 hull design measuring 755 ft in length and 125 ft in width. It will offer a payload in excess of 22,000 metric tons and a 1,250-ton hoisting system. The rig’s design incorporates enhanced and redundant offline tubular stand-building features and a 165-ton active heave-compensating construction crane, allowing for the deployment of subsea production equipment without interference with ongoing drilling operations. The rig, which will be initially outfitted for drilling in water depths of up to 10,000 ft, will be equipped with dynamic positioning in compliance with DP3 certification; six-5.5 megawatt thrusters for enhanced station-keeping; expanded drilling fluids capacity; a 15,000-psi subsea well control system with six rams, upgradable to seven rams and/or a second BOP stack; burner boom for well testing; and living quarters for up to 200 personnel.
Ensco’s three active DP3 drillships are currently contracted into 2016 in the US Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West Africa. A fourth, ENSCO DS-6, is undergoing pre-commissioning modifications in preparation for its first well assignment under a five-year contract with BP. ENSCO DS-7 and ENSCO DS-8 are scheduled for delivery in Q2 2013 and Q3 2014, respectively.