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This week Noble Corporation and Maersk Drilling completed their merger, while Shelf Drilling completed the acquisition of the five Noble harsh-environment jackups. Meanwhile, Island Innovator commenced operations in South Africa.

In case you missed it, you can access our previous Rig Market Round-Up here.


Saudi Aramco has awarded contract extensions to three Valaris jackups currently under contract offshore Saudi Arabia, keeping the jackups working into 2023. The 350-ft LT Super 116-C Valaris 76 received a 292-day extension, the 300-ft F&G L-780 MOD II Valaris 54 a 204 day extension and the 400-ft KFELS MOD V-B Valaris 108 a 142-day extension. All three of these contract extensions are in direct continuation of the rigs’ existing contracts.

BP has exercised a four-well option for jackup Valaris 118 offshore Trinidad and Tobago. The four-well option has an estimated duration of 200 days and a total contract value of USD 24 million. It will begin in direct continuation of Valaris 118‘s existing 270-day firm program with BP offshore Trinidad and Tobago, which began in October 2022. Under this term, BP will use the 350-ft jackup to drill three wells at the Mango field and one well at the Savonette field.

Following the previous announced LOA announced in September 2022, Dolphin Drilling announced the formal contract award of the semisub Blackford Dolphin by General Hydrocarbons Limited. The semisub will mobilise from Mexico to Las Palmas for its Special Periodic Survey (SPS) before it will commence the contract with General Hydrocarbons, offshore Nigeria, in Q4 2022. The contract duration is for 12 months, but the operator has the right to shorten the contract with up to 6 months. The total contract value for the contract award is USD 96 million.

Valeura Energy has chartered PV Drilling jackup PV Drilling I for work at the Wassana field in the Gulf of Thailand in 2023. The 300-ft jackup is expected to mobilise to the Wassana field in mid-Q2 2023. The rig’s initial work scope is a five-well infill drilling program with an option to extend the work to include additional drilling operations at Valeura’s discretion. The rig is currently in Vietnam. Valeura expects to re-start production from the Wassana oil field in the fourth quarter of 2022, with initial oil production rates of up to 3,000 bbls/d. The company is targeting an increase to 4,500 bbls/d as a result of the 2023 infill drilling program. Valeura is also working on securing the recertification of the field’s MOPU facility and procuring an FPSO.

Shelf Drilling jackup Noble Sam Turner has secured a two-year contract extension with TotalEnergies offshore Denmark via the exercise of a priced option. The two-year extension is valued at USD 68 million and is to begin in direct continuation of the 400-ft jackup’s current contract with TotalEnergies offshore Denmark. This new extension keeps the rig with TotalEnergies into March 2025. Shelf Drilling intend to rename the rig Shelf Drilling Winner upon completion of the official renaming process in early 2023.

Drilling activities

Island Drilling semisubmersible Island Innovator has began operations with Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas at Block 2B offshore South Africa. The rig is drilling the Gazania-1 exploration well in around 150 meters (492 ft) of water, targeting two prospects. If Gazania-1 is successful, Eco (Atlantic) and its partners have the option to directionally drill a sidetrack to target a third prospect. Both the Gazania-1 well and the potential sidetrack will be logged and then plugged. Following the work offshore South Africa, Island Innovator has work lined up with Trident Energy offshore Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea.

Well Results

Following a commercial natural gas discovery at the Hermes well offshore Israel, Energean has exercised an option for Stena Drilling 10,000-ft drillship Stena IceMAX. Energean stated that the preliminary estimates at the Hermes exploration well on Block 31 indicate 7 to 15 billion cubic meters of recoverable natural gas resources and that the discovery has helped de-risk the nearby Poseidon and Orpheus structures, which are potential future appraisal targets. Stena IceMAX has moved on to drill the Zeus well in the OIympus area on Block 12 offshore Israel. The company has exercised an option to drill a sixth well with Stena IceMAX as part of the current drilling campaign, which will target the Hercules prospect on Block 23 offshore Israel.


Seadrill drillship West Jupiter has left Tenerife Shipyards in the Canary Islands is en route to Brazil ahead of a contract with Petrobras. West Jupiter was cold stacked in the Canary Islands from March 2020 to March 2022 and underwent reactivation and contract preparations for much of this year. The 12,000-ft 7th generation drillship was awarded a 1,040-day contract with Petrobras in October 2021, which is expected to begin in December 2022.

Other News

Noble Corporation and Maersk Drilling have completed their business combination via Noble’s public share exchange offer to Maersk Drilling shareholders. The combined company is now operating as Noble Corporation. Noble listed the company’s contract backlog as over USD4 billion as of 3 October 2022. Noble has received preliminary commitments from a group of banks to enter into a USD350 million, 3-year term loan to replace the existing Maersk Drilling syndicated facilities. Noble has also received a preliminary commitment for a USD150 million, 3-year term loan to replace the existing Maersk Drilling loan with Danish Ship Finance.

Shelf Drilling subsidiary Shelf Drilling (North Sea) Ltd. has completed the acquisition of five jackups from Noble Corporation for USD 375 million. This includes Noble Hans DeulNoble Sam HartleyNoble Sam TurnerNoble Houston Colbert, and Noble Lloyd Noble. Along with the rigs, the transaction also included all onshore and offshore related staff, support and infrastructure associated with the rigs. Noble will continue to operate the 500-ft Noble Lloyd Noble under a bareboat charter with Shelf Drilling through the conclusion of the rig’s current drilling contract with Equinor offshore Norway. This is expected to conclude in the second quarter of 2023. The 500-ft Noble Houston Colbert is working for QatarGas offshore Qatar. The 400-ft Noble Sam Turner is with TotalEnergies offshore Denmark. Noble Sam Hartley is with TotalEnergies and Noble Hans Deul with Independent Oil & Gas, both in UK waters. Noble Corporation agreed to sell these rigs to address concerns from the UK Competition and Markets Authority regarding its merger with Maersk Drilling, which was completed on 3 October 2022.

Lamprell and International Maritime Industries (IMI) has completed the load-out and float-off of a second LeTourneau Super 116E design jackup being built in the Middle East for Saudi Aramco/Valaris joint venture ARO Drilling. ARO 2006 will undergo mechanical completion and commissioning before being transferred from Lamprell’s facilities in the UAE to the IMI yard in Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia for final commissioning. The load-out and float-off of sister rig ARO 2005 took place in May 2020. ARO 2005 and ARO 2006 are being built for ARO Drilling and upon completion are to begin multi-year contracts with Saudi Aramco. IMI was created in 2017 as a joint venture between Lamprell, Saudi Aramco, Bahri and Hyundai Heavy Industries.

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