Norway’s Seadrill has paid $1.2billion for semi-submersible drilling rigs, SeaDragon I and II, from SeaDragon Offshore of the Cayman Islands.
The sixth generation ultra-deepwater duo are currently nearing completion at the Jurong Shipyard in Singapore, and are based on hulls fabricated by Sevmash of Russia. Deliveries are scheduled for Q1 and Q3 this year.
Seadrill has secured new bank debt to finance the strategic investment, which is designed to capitalise on the growing market for ultra-deepwater capability drilling units.
The principal terms and conditions have been agreed and the debt will have a seven-year tenor and a 13-year repayment profile. The two rigs will serve as security for the new debt.
SeaDragon I has a five-year contract in place with Pemex of Mexico. However Seadrill says that, due to postponed delivery, the contract is subject to further discussions among the involved parties. The second unit, SeaDragon II, has nothing on its charter book.
SeaDragon said it had aimed to complete both rigs in the UK. Moreover, the Tees Alliance Group (TAG) had invested heavily in preparing the Haverton Hill yard, near Stockton-on-Tees, to handle the work.
However, arrangements fell through after the Lloyds TSB bank allegedly refused to continue to fund the project.
Although the Tyne Tees Rigs (TTR) consortium stepped in with an alternative bid to keep it in the UK, SeaDragon rejected the offer and turned to Jurong.
Seadrill’s CEO, Alf Thorkildsen, said: “We expect the demand for ultra-deepwater units to strengthen over the next years.
“This investment increases our exposure to this growing market segment at an acceptable price and a manageable risk. Furthermore, we are familiar with the design of and equipment on the rigs and are pleased to be able to continue our long and strong relationship with the reputable Jurong Shipyard.”
The rigs are based on the Moss Maritime CS50 Mk II design. The dynamically-positioned (DP 3 class certification) rigs are equipped with NOV drilling equipment and will have a water depth capability of up to 3,000m (10,000ft) and a total vertical drilling depth capacity of up to 35,000ft.
The subsea well control system includes a six-ram 15,000psi (pounds per square inch) BOP (blow-out preventer) stack with two 10,000psi annulars.
Each rig’s variable deck-load specification is 6,200 tonnes.