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Ensco orders sixth ultra-deepwater drillship to meet customer demands

Posted on 05 April 2012

Responding to the high level of customer demand driven by a trend of successful offshore discoveries, Ensco has ordered an advanced-capability, ultra-deepwater drillship to be built by Samsung Heavy Industries in Geoje, South Korea.

The vessel, ENSCO DS-8, will be the sixth Samsung DP3 drillship in the Ensco fleet.  It is scheduled for delivery in the Q3 2014. The contract also includes options for two additional drillships of the same design.

Consistent with the previous five Samsung ultra-deepwater drillships ordered since 2007, the new unit will have advanced capabilities to meet the demands of ultra-deepwater drilling in water depths up to 12,000 ft and a total vertical drilling depth of 40,000 ft. New features on ENSCO DS-8 include 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.

“An ongoing trend of new deepwater oil and gas discoveries around the globe is creating a high demand for equipment capable of tapping those resources,” Ensco Chairman, President and CEO Dan Rabun, said.

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 tons and a 1,250-ton hoisting system. The rig’s design and capabilities include features that increase operating efficiency, such as 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 will be equipped with dynamic positioning in compliance with DPS-3 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.

“This addition to our fleet is in keeping with our strategy of standardization, which streamlines construction, operations, inventory management, training, regulatory compliance, repairs and maintenance,” Mr Rabun said.

Ensco’s three active DP3 drillships are currently contracted into 2016 in the 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 is scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2013.

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