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This week Shelf Drilling secured a five-year contract for jackup Harvey H. Ward, while Saipem was awarded multiple contracts in the Middle East and West Africa. Meanwhile, Eco Atlantic announced that drilling of Gazania-1 exploration well has been completed.

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


Shelf Drilling has been awarded a five-year contract for the use jackup Harvey H. Ward for operations in the Arabian Gulf with options for an additional two years. The contract start-up is estimated to be in late March 2023, with a duration of 1,825 days. The total contract value for the firm period is USD 192 million, including a mobilisation fee. The jackup will undergo an upgrade and contract preparation project in the UAE ahead of contract commencement.

Saipem has been awarded three new offshore drilling contracts in the Middle East and two in West Africa. The company valued these contracts at USD 800 million, net leasing costs for the rigs used. Two new contracts were awarded to jackups referred to as Perro Negro 12 and Perro Negro 13, chartered by third parties for drilling and workover activities on specific projects. The 375-ft jackup Sea Lion 7 received a five-year extension to its existing contract with Saudi Aramco offshore Saudi Arabia. Saipem 12,000-ft drillship Saipem 12000 has secured two new contracts offshore West Africa with Eni, keeping the rig working into 2025. Saipem 12000 has been chartered to Eni in recent years and since 2019 has been working offshore Africa on projects offshore Mozambique, Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire. Read more here…

SFL Corporation has signed a USD50 million contract with ExxonMobil Canada for harsh environment semisubmersible Hercules, also known as West Hercules. The one-well contract is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2023 and has a duration of 135 days, with an option for a 60-day extension. The 10,000-ft West Hercules has been bareboat chartered and managed by Seadrill Limited in recent years; this charter will come to end late in the fourth quarter of 2022. The rig is currently en route from Canada to Norway, where management of the rig will be handed over to Odfjell Drilling and the rig will undergo its scheduled special periodic survey before it mobilizes to Canadian waters once again.

Drilling Activity and Discoveries

Shelf Drilling’s 300ft Jackup Compact Driller has commenced drilling operations at the exploration well Yumna-4 Deep in the Yumna Field in Block 50, Offshore Oman. The drilling of the well is expected to be completed in approximately 60 days and is being drilled from the Mobile Offshore Production Unit (MOPU) in the Yumna Field. Prior to the Yumna-4 Deep, the jackup was used to replace the Electrical Submersible Pump (ESP) in the Yumna-3 well. The Compact Driller is contracted to Masirah Oil until December 2022 and have options to extend thereafter.

Neptune Energy has encountered hydrocarbons at the Calypso exploration well on licence PL938 in the Norwegian Sea. The company has not yet confirmed if commercial volumes are present. The Calypso prospect is being drilled by Odfjell Drilling-managed semisubmersible Deepsea Yantai. The well spudded in early November 2022. Deepsea Yantai is owned by CIMC. Neptune Energy is the operator of PL938 with a 30% interest. Its partners include OKEA ASA with a 30% interest, Pandion Energy with a 20% interest and Vår Energi ASA with a 20% interest.

Eco Atlantic and Africa Energy announced that drilling of the Gazania-1 exploration well has been completed and that the well did not encounter commercial hydrocarbons. The well is now being logged and then plugged and abandoned. Block 2B is located Offshore South Africa, near the border with Namibia, in water depths ranging from 50 to 200 meters (150 to 600 feet).The exploration well was designed to test the extension of the oil discovered at A-J1 in 1988, and encountered wet gas throughout the main target interval. Although this confirms an active petroleum system in the basin, the well did not encounter commercial hydrocarbons. Gazania-1 was spud by harsh environment semisub Island Innovator, which mobilised from the North Sea earlier this year. After this contract, the semisub will move to Mauritania where it will undergo P&A operations for Petrofac.


Following a late October 2022 agreement between Israel and Lebanon over maritime boundaries, TotalEnergies and its partner Eni have signed a framework agreement with Israel ahead of exploration on Block 9 offshore Lebanon. TotalEnergies is the operator of Block 9 with a 60% interest. Eni holds a 40% interest. The partners will initiate exploration of a previously-identified prospect which might extend both into Block 9 and into Israeli waters south of the recently established Maritime Border Line between Israel and Lebanon. TotalEnergies and Eni have begun preparations for exploration activities, which includes the mobilization of teams, purchase of required agreement and procurement of a drilling rig. TotalEnergies completed the Byblos exploration well on Block 4 offshore Lebanon in April 2020, the first exploration well offshore Lebanon. This well, drilled with Vantage Drilling drillship Tungsten Explorer, encountered traces of hydrocarbons but no reservoirs in its target formation.

Mobilisation/Rig Moves

Semisub Valaris DPS-5 has finished its US Gulf campaign with Murphy and is en route to Mexican waters for its next assignment. The unit’s next charter covers drilling the Tulum prospect for Murphy, followed by a charter for three wells in Block 7 for Eni. This firm work should keep Valaris DPS-5 working into Q3 2023. Eni also has three 80-day options available.

Borr Drilling 400-ft jackup Norve has completed work with VAALCO Energy offshore Gabon and is now in the yard, undergoing surveys and contract preparations ahead of its next contract. By the end of 2022, the rig is expected to begin work with BW Energy, which will use the rig to drill at its Hibiscus / Ruche development offshore Gabon. Norve is committed to BW Energy into August 2023 with an option to extend.

Borr Drilling 400-ft jackup Prospector 5 has begun work for Eni offshore Congo on a six-well contract fixed in August 2022. Prospector 5 is with Eni into December 2024, with an option to extend. Prospector 5 relocated from Northwest Europe to West Africa for this contract during the fourth quarter of 2023.

Other News

Eni and CNOOC have submitted proposals to explore for oil and gas offshore Mozambique under the country’s 6th Licensing Round. The announcement of the results is expected to take place by 30 December 2022, following an evaluation process by officials from state institutions and an external consultant. Both companies proposed partnerships with Empresa Nacinal de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), Mozambique’s national oil company. Eni’s proposal is for block A6-C in the Angoche area with Eni to hold a 60% stake as operator and ENH as a partner with 40%. CNOOC’s proposals are for S6-A and S6-B in the Save area and A6-G, A6-D and A6-E in the Angoche area. Under these proposals, CNOOC would be operator of S6-A and S6-B with a 70% and 77.5% interest respectively. CNOOC would be the operator of A6-G with a 79.5% interest, A6-D with 77.5% interest and A6-E with 80% interest. ENH would hold the remaining interests.

Wintershall Dea and its partners Svai Energi and Petoro have submitted an updated plan for development and operations to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for the second development phase of the Maria field. The companies are to invest around 4 billion Norwegian kroner (USD400 million) in this project. The Maria field is in the Norwegian Sea and is developed as a subsea tieback with five producing wells and two water injection wells. Production from Maria started in 2017. The Maria Phase 2 project involves installation of a new six-slot template in the southern part of the field. The template will accommodate two producing wells and one water injector for pressure support. The three spare slots will be available for future development of the field. Svai Energi  expects the next next phase of the Maria project to add around 22 million barrels of oil equivalent to the total field reserves. The expected lifetime of the Maria field is until 2040. Wintershall is operator of the field with a 50% interest. Petoro owns 30% and Svai Energi owns 20%.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) has announced the results from Call for Bids NL22-CFB01 (Eastern Newfoundland Region) and Call for Bids CL22-CFB02 (South Eastern Newfoundland Region). Five successful bids were received for the Eastern Newfoundland Region, totaling CAN 238,075,321 (USD 179.0 million), while no bids were received for the South Eastern Newfoundland Region. ExxonMobil (70%) and QPI Energy (30%) bid nearly CAD 181.6 million (USD 136.5 million) for Parcel 8. For Parcel 12, the successful bidder was BP with a bid of CAD 16.5 million (USD 12.4 million). The other three successful bids – for Parcels 26, 27, and 28 – were each won by a consortium of Equinor (60%) and BP (40%). The bid for Parcel 26 was CAD 15.2 million (USD 11.4 million), the bid for Parcel 27 was CAD 14.0 million (USD 10.5 million), and the bid for Parcel 28 was CAD 10.8 million (USD 8.1 million). Pending receipt of government approval and the operators meeting requirements, new exploration licences are expected to be issued in January 2023.

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