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This week, Hess has awarded a new contract to jackup Naga 5, Noble Resilient has new work lined up with INEOS, and Diamond Offshore has confirmed a new four-year contract for Ocean Courage with Petrobras. New discoveries were reported offshore Israel and Angola. Beacon Offshore and its partners have reached an FID on the Winterfell project while Equinor has pushed its decision on Wisting to late 2026.

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


Semisub Bluewhale I is undergoing its five-year SPS in advance of commencing a new charter with CNOOC for work in the South China Sea. Operations are expected to begin later in the fourth quarter and will run about 2.5 years. The SPS is being performed at Yantai CIMC yard.

Noble 350-ft jackup Maersk (Noble) Resilient has been contracted by INEOS for a four-well intervention scope in the U.K. North Sea, to begin in January 2023. INEOS has also exercised a further option for the rig. The four-well contract is valued at USD5.5 million with an estimated duration of 63 days, starting in January 2023 in direct continuation of the rig’s current contract with Shell. INEOS also exercised the option for an additional 65 to 75 days with the rig, keeping it working into May 2023. The day rate for the contract is USD87,500.

Velesto Drilling, a subsidiary of Velesto Energy, has received a Letter of Award (LoA) from Hess for the provision of integrated Rig, Drilling and Completion (I-RDC) services on the North Malay Basin Full Field Development Campaign. Velesto Energy has assigned the 400ft KFELS B Class jackup Naga 5 for the work, and the contract is to provide I-RDC services cover 14 wells, with commencement in Q4 2022. The estimated total contract value is USD 135 million.

Diamond Offshore has been notified of the award of a new four-year drilling program with Petrobras offshore Brazil for 10,000-ft semisubmersible Ocean Courage. The company expects the new contract to be signed imminently. Ocean Courage has been awarded a four-year term with an unpriced option for an additional four years. The total estimated value of the firm term of the award is USD429 million, including a mobilization fee and additional services. Once signed, the contract is expected to commence late in the fourth quarter of 2023 after the conclusion of the rig’s current contract with Petrobras offshore Brazil and new contract preparations. The contract is being awarded under Petrobras’ Lot 1 tender, which was for up to two high-spec DP rigs capable of operating in up to 3,000m of water. In addition to Ocean Courage, the other unit is understood to be Transocean drillship Deepwater Corcovado, which is also already off Brazil.

Diamond Offshore expects 10,000-ft drillship Ocean BlackHawk to complete work with Woodside offshore Senegal by August 2023. The rig began a development drilling campaign with Woodside around late July 2022. After completion of the term with Woodside, Diamond Offshore anticipate mobilizing the rig to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands for its special hull survey, which has been brought forward from 2024. The drilling contractor is engaged in active discussions for future work for the rig, with activity in the US GOM a primary target.

Diamond Offshore expect 6,000-ft semisubmersible Ocean Onyx, currently warm stacked in Australia, to return to work by the second half of 2023. The rig finished a drilling program with Beach Energy in early September 2022. Diamond Offshore has said that they see opportunities for the rig in the region, including potential drilling programs in late 2023 and early 2024 for which it is well positioned. Diamond Offshore also has two semisubmersibles cold stacked at this time; the 5,500-ft Ocean Valiant in the UK and 10,000-ft Ocean Monarch in Malaysia. The drilling contractor has stressed that it does not plan to reactivate these units on spec but noted that Ocean Valiant could take advantage of an expected uptick in plugging and abandonment (P&A) work in UK waters

Drilling Activity and Discoveries

Energean announced that the company has made a gas discovery at the Zeus exploration well in block 12, offshore Israel. Preliminary estimates indicate that the commercial discovery contains 13.3 bcm of recoverable natural gas resources. The well was drilled with Stena 10,000-ft drillship Stena IceMAX, which has now moved to Block 23 offshore Israel to drill the Hercules well, targeting a Miocene gas prospect. This is the final well in Energean’s 2022 campaign offshore Israel.

ExxonMobil has made a discovery at the Bavuca South-1 exploration well on Block 15 offshore Angola, encountering 30 meters (98 ft) of hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone in around 1,100 meters (3,608 ft) of water. The well was drilled with Valaris 12,000-ft drillship Valaris DS-9, which began a two-year term with ExxonMobil offshore Angola in July 2022. Bavuca South-1 is part of ExxonMobil’s Block 15 redevelopment program, which includes the installation of new technology and a multi-year drilling program which aims to produce around 40,000 b/d of oil to offset natural production declines. ExxonMobil and Angola’s National Agency for Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels stated that this was the 18th discovery on Block 15 and the first one recorded since 2003. ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration Angola (Block 15) Limited is the operator of Block 15 with a 36% interest. Partners include BP, Eni, Equinor and Sonangol.

Aker BP has been granted a drilling permit by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) for well 16/1-35 S in PL 1141, offshore Norway. The planned spud date is in November 2022 and the well will be drilled by the harsh environment semisub Scarabeo 8.


Kosmos Energy plans to drill the Akeng Deep well on Block S offshore Equatorial Guinea in early 2024.

The well will test a play in the Albian stage targeting a gross mean resource of around 180 million BOE. The Kosmos-operated Block S is adjacent to the Ceiba Field and Okume Complex,

Kosmos Energy is in discussions to secure a rig to drill the Tiberius prospect in the US Gulf in mid-2023.

The prospect is a four-way structure in the Keathley Canyon area. If successful, the well would be tied back to existing infrastructure. The operator’s plan proposed well locations in Keathley Canyon Blocks 920 and 964, with water depths ranging from 7,395-7,437 ft. The plan was approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in October 2022.

Other News

Suriname is offering six offshore blocks in the Demerara Bid Round 2022-2023. The blocks in the Demerara Acreage cover 43,956 sq km of mostly unexplored area, as only four wells have previously been drilled. Water depths range from 400-3,500m. Virtual data rooms open on 28 November 2022 and close to new bidders on 28 April 2023. Bids must be submitted by 31 May 2023 Winners are expected to be notified by 30 June 2023

Partners in the Beacon Offshore-operated Winterfell deepwater project in the US Gulf have reached a final investment decision. Partner Kosmos noted that a rig commitment letter has been signed to drill and complete three wells starting in mid-2023. Furthermore, Kosmos has increased its working interest in the project to about 25%.

Equinor has pushed its final investment decision target for the Wisting development off Norway from the end of 2022 to the end of 2026. The operator cites global inflation, cost growth in the supply industry, and uncertainty about the framework conditions for the project, and execution capacity in the supplier market as key drivers of the decision to delay. The updated investment estimate for Wisting is NOK 104 billion (USD 10.2 billion).

Offshore drilling contractor Diamond Offshore reported net income of USD5.5 million for the third quarter of 2022, inclusive of a USD23 million non-cash tax benefit. Diamond had reported a net loss of USD22 million in the second quarter of 2022. Read more here…

Finder Energy has signed farmout agreements to assign a 40% interest in P2527, P2528 and P2530 to Dana Petroleum. The transaction is conditional on regulatory approvals, which are expected to be obtained in one month. Finder Energy will maintain a 60% interest and operatorship in each license.

Genel’s farm-out programme for the Lagzira block off Morocco is underway. The operator expects to sign a Petroleum Agreement and Association Contract with the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM). Water depths in the block range from 200-1,200m, with a proven petroleum system following Genel’s 2014 well, which recovered oil from Upper and Middle Jurassic reservoirs. In 2018, additional seismic was acquired and 18 prospects and leads were identified.

Conrad Asia Energy has been awarded the winner of two new Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) Offshore North West Aceh (ONWA) and Offshore South West Aceh (OSWA), located offshore northwest and southwest of the Aceh Province of Indonesia. ONWA and OSWA were offered under the Indonesia Petroleum Bidding Round (IPBR) 2022 first licensing round, in which Conrad submitted bids on the 5th of September 2022. The blocks are deemed by the Indonesian authorities as “frontier” due to the deepwater environment and lack of exploration in large parts of the block (notwithstanding the existing discoveries in the shallow water). Although the deepwater areas are underexplored, recent seismic surveys have delineated leads with multi TCF potential. Conrad will operate and hold a 100% Participating Interest in both blocks.

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