Further rig owners are being tempted back into ordering new mobile offshore drilling units as market conditions improve – among them Norwegian-owned Seadrill and Standard Drilling.
The Seadrill order is worth $380million and covers the build of two jack-ups by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Offshore Company (DSIC) of China.
Seadrill expects delivery in Q4 2012 and Q1 2013 respectively. The price tag includes project management, drilling and handling tools, spares, and capitalised interest.
In addition, Seadrill has option agreements for construction of a further two similar units with DSIC which could take the order value to well past $700million.
The two rigs ordered from Dalian are latest generation, high specification jack-ups with greater capacities and capabilities than current, more conventional units.
They are based on the Friede & Goldman JU2000E design, and are suitable for operations worldwide, including the Southern North Sea.
The units have the capability to operate in water depths of up to 122m (400ft) and drill to 9.144m (30,000ft). They also offer improved drilling efficiencies with offline pipe handling, simultaneous operations support, and increased accommodation capacity.
Alf C Thorkildsen, Seadrill’s CEO, said: “We expect market and conditions for premium jackup rigs to continue to improve. These new-build orders position our company to meet the demand from our customers and further strengthen our position as the leading operator of modern, high-quality offshore drilling units.
“Our jack-up rig fleet will, including the recent acquisition of Scorpion and the two recently ordered rigs from Jurong, constitute the world’s largest modern jackup fleet with a total of 18 units built after 2006.”
Standard Drilling has ordered a single KFELS B Class jack-up from Keppel FELS of Singapore for $180million.
Keppel FELS said that, as part of the agreement, Standard Drilling (it is a subsidiary of Norwegian investment house Ferncliff) has been given options to build another two similar jackup units.
If exercised, the options for the additional two rigs will bring the total contract value to about $550million. The first rig is scheduled for delivery during H2 2012.
Announcing the order, Martin Nes, CEO at Ferncliff, said: “We are seeing activities and opportunities in the jack-up market recovering quickly and are positive that this demand for newer, safer, high-specification jack-ups will be sustained, given the growing need worldwide for premium units with capabilities to operate safely in more challenging locations.”
According to Wong Kok Seng, a director at Keppel FELS, and including the Standard Drilling order, a total of 35 KFELS B Class rigs have been ordered to date and 32 of these have already entered the market and are apparently delivering “excellent operational and safety performance”.
Crossing the Atlantic to Houston, Transocean has reached an agreement to buy for $195million a Pacific Class 400 design jack-up currently under construction at PPL Shipyard in Singapore.
Transocean expects delivery of the high-specification unit in Q4 next year (2011) and that the rig, which is PPL Shipyard’s latest proprietary design, is capable of operating in similar water depths to the units ordered by Seadrill.
The PPL machine will feature the most advanced offshore drilling technology, including offline tubular handling features and simultaneous operations support. In addition, the rig will have accommodation for 150 personnel.
Transocean said the decision to purchase this unit reflects its belief in the strengthening fundamentals of the high-specification jack-up market and to grow its share.
Also a jack-up, but barge-shaped and multi-purpose, the $24.3million Swift 10 unit has been delivered by Drydocks World of Dubai to the Dutch company Swift Drilling, which is a joint venture between Cofely Oil & Gas and Jack-Up Barge.
The specialized jackup barge was built at the Drydocks World yard at Nanindah, Indonesia and will be deployed to European waters. An additional unit JB-117 is undergoing construction in Graha, Indonesia.
Classed by the American Bureau of Shipping, the Swift 10 barge has a 1,750 tons capacity and is 67.4m (221ft) long by 40m (131ft) wide.
The mooring system consists of four 40-ton line pull, electric-driven, and four 6-ton Delta Flipper anchors. The barge is equipped with an 80-ton capacity offshore crane and helipad.
Finally, Vantage Drilling has taken delivery of the ultra-deepwater drillship, the Platinum Explorer, from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.
Vantage said the vessel would go on a five-year contract with Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) working offshore India. The dayrate is $590,000 per day.
Paul Bragg, Vantage’s chairman and CEO, said, “We have taken delivery of the Platinum Explorer on time and budget, and have begun the maiden voyage to India to commence the contract there, starting around year-end.
“This is a huge milestone for Vantage, as we have now completed construction of the fleet orders that we acquired two years ago.
“We are well prepared to start work with Platinum Explorer, and having her in service will result in more than doubling of our ongoing rig cashflows.”
The drillship is owned 45% by Vantage and 55% by Valencia Drilling, an affiliate of the TMT Group.