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$2.6billion drilling win for Vantage

$2.6billion drilling win for Vantage
High-value long-term contracts are still being awarded despite the impact of the credit crunch on the oil&gas sector. That Vantage Drilling of Houston has just bagged contracts worth $2.56billion is testament to this.

High-value long-term contracts are still being awarded despite the impact of the credit crunch on the oil&gas sector. That Vantage Drilling of Houston has just bagged contracts worth $2.56billion is testament to this.

The company’s ultra-deepwater drillship, Platinum Explorer, has secured a five-year contract from ONGC of India, while an eight-year deal has been signed with Petrobras for the Titanium Explorer.

Both drillships are in-build at in Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in Okpo, South Korea.

It is expected that the Platinum Explorer will be completed and ready to go to work in Q4 2010. Expected revenues will be about $1.1billion, excluding mobilisation costs.

This vessel is 45% owned by Vantage and 55% by an affiliate of TMT.

Titanium Explorer should be ready for action in the US Gulf of Mexico by 2011. However, Petrobras has the right to relocate and utilise the super-drillship on a worldwide basis.

Expected revenues over the life of the contract are about $1.6billion.

Vantage currently also has four Baker Marine Pacific Class 375 ultra-premium jack-up drilling rigs on order.

It also has a deal with Sea Dragon Offshore to run an ultra-deepwater semi-submersible currently in-build.

On the deliveries front, Seadrill has received its latest new deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig, the West Eminence, from the Samsung of Korea.

Its first drilling assignment is working the Santos Basin offshore Brazil for Petrobras on a six-year contract. Start-up is expected in June. West Eminence is a sixth-generation, high-specification semi-submersible capable of working water depths to 3,000m (9,850ft).

It features a high load-carrying capacity and the latest thinking in drill-floor lay-out, with improved safety and working-environment measures implemented.

West Eminence is the eighth consecutive deepwater drilling unit delivered to Seadrill during the last 11 months and the second deepwater new-build in the series to go to work for Petrobras.

The Norwegian company has a further three deepwater units on order.

Meanwhile, Keppel FELS has demonstrated why high-efficiency construction can pay dividends as the company has just earned a $625,000 bonus by delivering the jack-up rig, Greatdrill Chetna, 20 days ahead of schedule, within budget and without incidents, to Mercator Offshore.

Built to Keppel’s proprietary KFELS B Class design, Greatdrill Chetna has been contracted to ONGC.

It is the 27th KFELS B Class jack-up rig to enter the market and will be deployed for three years in the Mumbai High oilfields.

Keppel FELS says the unit is tailored for the conditions of offshore India and meets ONGC’s requirements of harsh environment, bearing pressure and rig geometry.

It is capable of operating in water depths of 106m (350ft) and drilling to a depth of 9,144m (30,000ft). Its design also incorporates Keppel’s advanced and fully automated high-capacity rack-and-pinion elevating system and self-positioning fixation system.

The Singapore yard is also close to delivering the Ensco 8501, an ultra-deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig, which has just been christened.

Ensco 8501 is the second in a series of seven deepwater semis to be constructed by Keppel FELS for US company Ensco. It will be capable of drilling in 2,590m (8,500ft) of water and can be upgraded to 3,000m (10,000ft) water-depth capability if required. It has a drilling depth of 10,600m (35,000ft) and can accommodate up to 150 personnel. When delivered mid-2009, it will be contracted to Noble and Nexen for operation in the Gulf of Mexico.

Speaking at the rig’s naming ceremony, Ensco’s chairman/CEO, Dan Rabun, said: “We expect to begin realising the benefit of our significant deepwater investment starting in the second quarter of 2009.

“The first of our seven new Ensco 8500 series ultra-deepwater semis, Ensco 8500, is currently undergoing deepwater sea trials prior to commencement of operations.

“With the expected addition of all seven new 8500 Series deepwater rigs to our fleet by 2012, we anticipate that our deepwater segment will contribute approximately one-third of our revenue once all the new rigs are delivered and operational.”

Keppel and Ensco have so far had a two decade-long partnership during which they have worked closely to build up and renew Ensco’s rig fleet. This includes the delivery of nine new jack-up rigs.

Stateside, the Rowan Companies manufacturing subsidiary, LeTourneau Technologies, has signed contracts worth about $185million with a Brazilian construction consortium to provide the rig kit, rig design and drilling equipment for two LeTourneau Super 116E jack-up rigs.

The rigs are to be built at Petrobras’s Maragojipe, Bahia, Brazil, facility by the Consorcio Rio Paraguacu. The rig kits will be substantially delivered in 2009, while most of the drilling equipment will be provided in 2010.

The Super 116E Class is one of five current LTI jack-up rig designs and is an evolution of LTI’s industry workhorse 116-C Class design.

The Super 116E provides for up to 2,000 kip greater payload than its predecessor. The rig is designed to work in water depths to 106m (350ft) in moderate environmental locations and can be outfitted to handle high-temperature/high-pressure wells.

LTI’s president/CEO, Dan Eckermann, said in a statement: “In this difficult market environment, we are pleased to have been selected by the Brazilian consortium to provide the primary components for these new jack-up rigs.

“We plan to deliver to the consortium state-of-the-art rig kits, rig design and drilling equipment. This success also confirms the strength of our product slate and our ability to provide quality drilling products for offshore and land-drilling applications.”

Meantime, the ultra-deepwater drillship, West Capella, has started work with Total in Nigeria. West Capella, which was delivered from the Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea end-December, 2008, arrived offshore Nigeria in March, since when final preparations to drill have been under way.

West Capella is chartered to Total under a five-year contract. The drillship is the second deepwater new-build delivered to Seadrill that has a long-term contract with Total.

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