Seadrill orders ultra-deepwater drillship for delivery in 2014

Posted on 24 September 2012

Seadrill has ordered an ultra-deepwater drillship to be built at the Samsung yard in South Korea. The project value is estimated to be around US $600 million, including project management, drilling and handling tools, spares, capitalized interest and operations preparations. Delivery is scheduled for Q4 2014.

The drillship will be of the same design as the existing six drillships under construction at Samsung and will have a hook-load capability of 1,250 tons and a water depth capacity of up to 12,000 ft targeting operations in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and West and East Africa. The units will be outfitted with a seven-ram blowout preventer (BOP) stack and with storing and handling capacity for a second BOP.

Seadrill’s construction program now totals 19 units, including seven drillships, two harsh-environment semisubmersibles, five tender rigs and five jackups. Seadrill also has fixed-price options for three ultra-deepwater/harsh-environment units. Seadrill has agreed on a fixed-price option to build an additional drillship at the Samsung yard and believes it is likely that the option will be exercised with delivery in the Q1 2015.

“We have a unique environment where both daily rates and contract duration are increasing to new highs, while yard prices remain low due to the overcapacity in the shipyard industry,” John Fredriksen, chairman of Seadrill said.
“The deepwater drilling industry is transforming from an exploration to a development industry. Such a transformation will trigger a significant increase in the need for the drilling of production wells in order to connect the fields that have been successfully explored in the recent years.

“Seadrill is best positioned within the drilling industry to meet this tightness. We have in total nine ultra-deep/harsh-environment units for delivery in 2013 to 2015, plus options for an additional three. Two of these units have already been employed on long-term contracts. We are currently in specific discussions regarding attractive long-term employment opportunities for a majority of the remaining firm units. Clarification around these fixtures should be expected in the months to come.”

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