DIAMOND Offshore Drilling has completed its purchase of the newly built semi-submersible drilling rig, PetroRig I, from Sembcorp Marine’s Jurong Shipyard just two months after the unit was put up for sale.
The purchase price for the rig, which will be renamed Ocean Courage, was $460million, exclusive of initial mobilisation costs, drill-string and other necessary spares.
Diamond, which reportedly beat John Fredriksen’s Seadrill, Noble Drilling and Stena Drilling to the deal, said it had already received several inquiries from potential customers regarding the availability of the unit.
This is in line with current forecasts that point to the deepwater/ultra-deepwater sector continuing to boom despite the impact of the credit crunch and global recession. (See Pages 16-17).
PetroRig I, which is a 3,300m (10,000ft) water-depth capability rig displacing 43,400 tonnes and with a variable deckload capacity of up to 8,000 tonnes, was designed by Friede & Goldman and was put up for sale two months ago when PetroMena, which ordered the unit from Sembcorp, failed to make the final payment.
The Singaporean group said it concluded an agreement with the owners of the PetroRig I that would allow it to be sold, even though PetroMena disputed Jurong’s right to sell it.
Back in 2006, rig-hungry Petrobras, of Brazil, reached a deal that would have given it access to the PetroRig I for work in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Brazil. The five-year deal was reported at the time to be worth $700million.
The arrangement was made by Larsen Oil and Gas, which is a privately owned Norwegian drilling and production contractor with offices in Aberdeen, Singapore and Dubai.
It is not clear what the situation is with sister rigs PetroRig II and PetroRig III, which were also on order at the Jurong yard.
A year ago, Larsen said these, too, had secured long-term charter contracts: PetroRig II to Petrobras and PetroRig III to Pemex.
Larsen, which attempted to block Sembcorp’s move to sell the PetroRig I in the US courts, did not respond to Energy’s inquiry.