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This week, fleet status reports from offshore drilling contractors were light on new fixtures; nonetheless, there were plenty of other interesting rig-related updates from Dolphin Drilling, Diamond Offshore, and Seadrill.

In case you missed it, you can access our previous Rig Market Roundup here.


Despite Tullow Oil’s recent announcement that it would take a break from drilling offshore Ghana, Noble Corp. has stated that there has been no contract termination announcement and that its 12,000-ft drillship Noble Venturer is currently still contracted to Tullow into March 2025. In January 2024, Tullow Oil stated that it expects to conclude its drilling activity at the Jubilee field offshore Ghana around six months ahead of schedule. The company and its joint venture partners then intend to take a break from drilling in Ghana before resuming in 2025. Speaking during the company’s Q4 2023 results call, Noble CEO Robet Eifler said, “It’s too early, really to give a definitive answer to what the customer plans to do there.”  Eifler added that the rig has performed “tremendously well,” and that Noble understands that customer does have more work. Noble Venturer is currently working at a dayrate of $298,000. Eifler said that if the company finds itself marketing Noble Venturer, the rig would make up revenue from a possible contract cancellation quickly as the market is “substantially higher today” than the rig’s current dayrate.

Masirah Oil Ltd has signed a rig contract with Northern Offshore for a multi-well programme in Yumna field in Oman. The multi-well programme in the offshore Yumna field in Block 50 in Oman will be drilled using the 375-ft jackup rig Energy Emerger. The programme will consist of the drilling and completion of a new infill well and the workover of two existing production wells. The contract is starting in mid-March 2024. After this campaign, the rig will return to Oman Oil Company (OQ) to continue its contract until Q1 2025.

Drilling Activity and Discoveries

Oil major bp has started drilling its first well on the Cypre gas development offshore Trinidad & Tobago, using the 350-ft jackup Valaris 118 (aka Joe Douglas). This is the first of seven wells to be drilled at the subsea development that will connect gas from the Cypre field to the Juniper platform off Trinidad’s southeast coast. bp reached a final investment decision for the Cypre development in September 2022. Cypre is located in the East Mayaro Block, at a water depth of about 80 metres (262 ft). First gas from the Cypre field is expected in 2025. The rig is contracted to bp offshore Trinidad until the second half of April 2025, following a six-well extension awarded in November 2023. The rig recently went into the yard for routine maintenance.

QatarEnergy is proceeding with a new LNG expansion project on the back of the positive results of appraisal drilling and testing at the North Field, located off the northeast shore of the Qatar peninsula. QatarEnergy’s CEO, Saad Sherida Al-Kaab, said the drilling and testing of ‘a number of appraisal wells’ in the area had confirmed that productive layers of the North Field extended towards the west, warranting the development of a new LNG production project in Ras Laffan. The project, to be named the “North Field West” project, is expected to boost Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 142 million tonnes per year before the end of the decade. This is an increase of almost 85% from current production levels.

Due to a revised well schedule, the 12,000-ft drillship West Vela will continue working for Beacon Offshore in the US GOM under the management of Diamond Offshore into mid-August 2024. The rig will then transition to its owner Seadrill’s management. Seadrill has multiple contracts lined up in the US GOM for the rig following its transition back under its management. The rig will first work for QuarterNorth Energy from around September 2024 to January 2025. The rig then has a 150-day contract with Talos Energy, secured in late January. This firm work with Talos will keep the rig working into June 2025, with some further outstanding options available. Talos Energy announced its acquisition of QuarterNorth Energy in January 2024, expected to close by the end of the first quarter of this year. The 12,000-ft drillship West Auriga, another Seadrill-owned unit that has been managed by Diamond Offshore in the US GOM, is wrapping up its contract with bp by early March 2024. With this work complete, the rig will be handed over to Seadrill in preparation for an upcoming contract with Petrobras offshore Brazil.

Wintershall Dea’s appraisal well 6507/4-4 S has resulted in a minor increase in the resource estimate for a gas/condensate discovery near the Dvalin field in the Norwegian Sea. The well is located in production licence 211 CS, with Wintershall Dea acting as operator and Petoro, Aker BP, and PGNiG as other licensees. It was drilled by the 10,000-ft semisub Transocean Norge, 14 kilometres north of the Dvalin field and 270 kilometres north of Kristiansund. The water depth at the site is 446 metres. The well was drilled to confirm the size of the previous discovery 6507/4-2 S (Adriana), which was made in 2021. Preliminary calculations place the size of the discovery at 4-7 million standard cubic metres (Sm3) of recoverable oil equivalent. Before the  6507/4-4 S well was drilled, the operator’s resource estimate for the gas/condensate discovery was 3-5 million Sm3 of recoverable oil equivalent. Appraisal well 6507/4-4 S encountered a 21-metre gas column in the Lysing Formation with sandstone layers totalling about 16 metres with good to very good reservoir quality. The gas/water contact was proven at 2885 metres below sea level. The drilling of sidetrack 6507/4-4 A, which aimed to delineate gas and oil discovery 6507/4-2 S (Sabina) in the Lange Formation, had to be aborted due to technical drilling issues. The licensees will consider tying the discovery to existing infrastructure in the area. The rig is now headed to production licence 475 BS in the Norwegian Sea (the Maria field), where Wintershall Dea is the operator.

The Norwegian Ocean Industry Authority (Havtil) has given Aker BP consent for exploration drilling of three wells in blocks 7324/6 and 7324/8 in the Barents Sea with the 10,000-ft semisubmersible Scarabeo 8. All three wells are located in production licence 1170, which is operated by Aker BP in partnership with Equinor, Petoro, and INPEX Idemitsu Norge. Aker BP has also already filed an application with the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet) for permission under the Pollution Act to drill these three wells in the Barents Sea. The first exploration well, 7324/6-2, is targeting the prospect named Ferdinand Nord where the water depth is 421 metres. The second well, 7324/8-4, is targeting the Hassel prospect with a water depth at the site being 401 meters. The third well, 7324/6-3, is targeting the Viasat prospect and the water depth at the site is 427 metres. As reported earlier in February, Aker BP plans to drill 10 to 15 exploration wells per year in the 2022-2027 period, the majority of which will be focused on near field areas.

Though Harbor Energy recently exercised a one-well option with an estimated duration of two months for drillship West Capella offshore Indonesia, rig owner Seadrill has stated that the rig is now expected to conclude operations in August 2024 due to a revised well schedule. The 10,000-ft West Capella is currently being managed by Vantage Drilling and will transition to Seadrill’s management once its work for Harbour Energy (previously Premier Oil) is completed. The one-well extension was reported in January 2024. Earlier this month, Vantage Drilling stated that the operator had options for further wells with the rig. Speaking at the company’s Q4 2023 results call, Seadrill executives said that they have been actively marketing the rig and are confident that they will secure further work for West Capella soon. Seadrill said that the well-based contract the rig is working under could mean that the end date for work could move again.

Rig Sales

Saipem confirmed that it has acquired the 375-ft GustoMSC CJ46 jackup Sea Lion 7 from China Merchants Industry Holding Company. The rig is to be renamed Perro Negro 10. The 2018-built Sea Lion 7 had been leased by Saipem from the holding group of its builder China Merchants Heavy Industry and contracted to Saudi Aramco since 2019. Saipem secured a five-year contract extension for the unit in late 2022, keeping the rig working offshore Saudi Arabia into 2028. Saipem acquired the rig in late 2023, contributing to the company’s reported 2023 capital expenditure of €202 million in its Offshore Drilling division. Esgian values the rig at $117 million to $129 million.

Mobilisation/Rig Moves

Diamond Offshore expects its 10,000-ft semisubmersible Ocean GreatWhite to be out of service for an estimated 90 to 100 days then return to work for bp west of the Shetland Islands in late April or early May 2024. The rig reported an equipment incident on 1 February 2024. The rig’s lower marine riser package (LMRP) had been disconnected from the rig’s BOP on the well while waiting on harsh weather. Subsequently, the LMRP and the deployed riser string unintentionally separated from the rig and dropped to the seabed. The rig will be going into port. With previously exercised options, Diamond Offshore now expect the rig to remain under contract to bp until around late November or early December 2024 once it returns to drilling. The operator has five priced option wells with an estimated duration of 60 days each still available.

Valaris 12,000-ft drillship Valaris DS-13 has arrived at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, where the rig will be stacked until it secures a contract. The 12,000-ft sister rig Valaris DS-14 is expected to arrive in the Canary Islands around mid-March 2024. Valaris took delivery of the two DSME 12000 rigs from Hanwha Ocean in December 2023. Speaking at the company’s Q4 2023 results call last week, Valaris executives said that they see opportunities for Valaris DS-13 and DS-14 to find work. The company is tracking opportunities for floating rigs in South America, West Africa, the US GOM and Southeast Asia.

The Shelf Drilling-owned 300-ft jackup Trident 16 has completed its contract with Petrobel in the Red Sea off Egypt. Trident 16 worked for Petrobel in the Red Sea for several years. The contract had a one-year option, but Petrobel did not exercise it. The rig has been demobilised to Ras Gharib, Egypt, where it is now idle, awaiting a new contract.

The Dynamic Drilling-managed jackup Divine Driller has left the ASRY Shipyard in Bahrain and is now on its way to India. The rig had been in ASRY Shipyard since December 2022, where it underwent major repairs and upgrades, drydocking, and five-year surveys. In Q4 2023, Divine Driller got a contract with ONGC for three years under Category I. Market sources indicate the rig will start this campaign at the end of Q1 2024. The Divine Driller (ex-Valiant Driller/Ensco 85), is a Marathon Le Tourneau Class 116-C cantilever jackup, capable of operating in water depths up to 300 feet.

Other News

Offshore drilling contractor Dolphin Drilling reported a net profit for the last quarter of 2023, compared to a loss in the prior quarter, with a total revenue backlog of over $1 billion. The reported net profit for Q4 2023 was $15.7 million compared to a loss of $1.4 million in the third quarter of 2023. The company reported total revenues of $23.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to $24.2 million in the previous quarter. The revenues reflect reduced earnings achieved on the 6,000-ft Blackford Dolphin due to standby status of the rig for a large part of the quarter reducing revenue efficiency to 95.3%. Total revenue backlog was at $1.1 billion, including $480 million in firm contracts (including mob fees, SPS contributions and other services) and $634 million in LOIs and option periods. The total combined daily lay-up expenses for the 1,500-ft Borgland and Bideford were $31,000, compared to $29,000 in Q3. Earlier in February 2024, Dolphin closed the acquisition of two semisubs, the 1,969-ft Paul B. Loyd, Jr. and the 5,500-ft Transocean Leader, with Transocean and started operations on the first rig, which is currently working for Harbour Energy. The rigs were purchased for $49 million and subsequent contract negotiations reveal an estimated EBITDA backlog to $150 million for the Paul B. Loyd, Jr. The Transocean Leader, to be renamed Dolphin Leader, remains stacked in the UK. Bjørnar Iversen, CEO of Dolphin Drilling commented: “The offshore drilling rig supply has been in free-fall since 2014, counting 185 retired or scrapped drillships and semisubmersible rigs, this countered with only a limited of number of new rigs entering the global fleet during the same period.” Dolphin also said that few rigs are generally bid into tenders and for some planned work scopes no rigs are bid at all. As a consequence, E&Ps are often required to adjust and amend the rig tenders causing a delay to final awards. “Overall, the outlook appears robust for the offshore drilling segments for the foreseeable future based on a balanced rig demand and supply situation,” the company concluded.

Dolphin Drilling has revealed its plans for the reactivation and special periodic survey (SPS) of the warm stacked 1,500-ft moored semisub, Borgland Dolphin, ahead of a contract in the UK in 2025. These activities will be undertaken at a yard in Las Palmas. Under a contract announced in late November 2023, Borgland Dolphin is scheduled to start an exploration drilling campaign for EnQuest in the UK in April 2025. Prior to contract commencement, the rig will undergo reactivation, upgrades, and renewal of class certificates. EnQuest retains its previously agreed option to utilise the Borgland Dolphin for a significant amount of future work and the option expires in the second quarter of 2024. In addition, the rig has a 500-day LOI with an undisclosed operator for further UK based activity, which is planned to begin in direct continuation from the EnQuest scope. Dolphin said it continues to work with the respective client schedules to ensure uninterrupted multi-year and back-to-back drilling campaigns can be sequenced. The Borgland Dolphin is currently in Feda, Norway where it has been warm stacked for the last couple of years. The total SPS budget for the rig is $20 million. Main project activities before the rig’s transit to Las Palmas include planning of mobilisation, including single voyage certificate (21-28 days); planning and negotiation with the yard (28 days); planning and ordering BOP long lead items (28 days); planning for drilling equipment overhaul (21-28 days); planning and (recertification) of lifeboats (28 days); and, personnel/operation-related activities surrounding transit. As detailed by Dolphin, the rig will start preparing for transit on 1 March 2024 and start the transit on 1 April with the expected arrival on 21 April. It will cost around $1.5 million to get the rig from Norway to Las Palmas. Following the completion of operations in the yard, the semisub is expected to start the transit to the UK on 20 February 2025. Rig acceptance is planned for 15 March and the start of the contract with EnQuest on 1 April 2025.

Serica Energy has completed the acquisition of 30% non-operated interests in the P2498 and P2170 licences (together the Greater Buchan Area), located in the UK North Sea, from Jersey Oil & Gas (JOG). The acquisition was announced in November 2023. The transaction provides Serica with the option of participating in the re-development of the Buchan field (formally re-named Buchan Horst) and other potential projects in the GBA, such as the development of the J2 and Verbier discoveries. On completion, Serica made a cash payment of $7.5 million to JOG, being $6.8 million adjusted to reflect an economic date of 1 April 2023 . The remainder of the potential consideration is in the form of a Buchan development cost carry and contingent amounts linked to certain future events. Following the completion, the partners in the GBA are now NEO Energy (50% and operator), Serica Energy (30%), and JOG (20%). NEO submitted the environmental statement (ES) for the development to the country’s regulator in January 2024. The proposed project will comprise the drilling of up to five production wells and two water injection wells, across two drill centres. Subject to project sanction and regulatory approval, the target for first production from Buchan is Q4 2026.

Dolphin Drilling is still exploring what it would take to bring the recently acquired 5,500-ft moored semisub Transocean Leader back to life, but will not do anything on speculation. Following an acquisition agreement for two semisubs, Paul B. Loyd, Jr. and Transocean Leader, in June 2023, Dolphin completed the takeover of the two rigs and started operations earlier in February 2024. In its Q4 2023 call on Monday, Dolphin said it is currently doing an inspection and looking at the special periodic survey (SPS) budget for the cold stacked Transocean Leader, to be renamed Dolphin Leader. The rig last worked in 2020 and it has been in the UK ever since. The latest known layup cost is about $1-2k per day. On a related note, the total SPS budget for the warm stacked, or ‘smart stacked’, Borgland Dolphin is around $20 million. This rig has been idle in Norway since early 2022 and is expected to mobilise to Las Palmas later this year for reactivation and renewal of class certificates ahead of a contract in the UK in 2025. Dolphin previously said it was positively surprised with the condition of the Leader, which was much better than expected. Currently, the rig is in the analysis situation. Dolphin stated that there have been 2-3 incoming clients interested to start talking about the Leader; however, for Dolphin, it’s all about capital discipline and the company is not going to do anything speculative on that. The rig owner still sees five to six relatively long-term opportunities in the UK and believes the situation in the market is encouraging despite recent talks about the potential windfall tax extension by the Labour Party, explaining that the P&A work scopes are still there and have to be done.

Norwegian authorities have granted consent to Aker BP to start production on the Hanz accumulation on the Ivar Aasen field in the North Sea. Drilling operations on the field were conducted with Saipem’s 10,000-ft semisub Scarabeo 8. The Hanz field is located in production licence 028B in the North Sea, which is operated by Aker BP with Equinor and Sval Energi participating as partners. Hanz was proven in 1997 and included in the 2013 plan for development and operation (PDO) for the Ivar Aasen field, which is located about 200 kilometres from Stavanger. The development solution involves reusing the subsea installations on the Jette field, which was shut down in 2016. Aker BP secured consent to use the Scarabeo 8 for production drilling on the Hanz field back in June 2023 and drilling operations were carried out later that year. Aker BP expects to start up production during the first quarter of 2024. According to the operator, investment costs for developing Hanz are estimated at about NOK 4.2 billion (around $399 million). The operator’s estimate of recoverable resources, mainly oil, is 3.1 million standard cubic metres of oil equivalent (19.65 million bbl o.e).

Malaysian drilling contractor Velesto on Tuesday posted a Q4 2023 net profit of 66,7 million Malaysian ringgit (cca $14 million) on cca 359 million ringgit revenue (cca $75,4 million), an increase compared to the Q4 2022 numbers. For comparison, in the fourth quarter of 2022, Velesto reported a 26 million ringgit ($5.46 million) loss on revenue of 243 million ringgit ($51 million). Velesto said the numbers increased mainly due to higher utilisation and average daily charter rates for jackup rigs under the drilling services segment and higher progress for the i-RDC project under the Integrated Project Management segments during the current quarter. The rig utilisation for the quarter grew to 94%, up from 90% in Q4 of 2022. Average rig dayrates in the quarter were $99,000, up from $78,000 in the fourth quarter of 2022. Velesto said the oil and gas outlook fundamentals remained strong, with global and regional upstream oil and gas activities, including in Southeast Asia, continuing their upward trend, with more exploration and development projects being evaluated, revisited, and sanctioned. Major oil producers continue to increase their CAPEX in response to a prolonged lack of investment in the past. In Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, a number of new contracts have been awarded, with more being tendered out, Velesto added. According to Velesto, jackup marketed utilisation in Southeast Asia and Malaysia remained at 100%, and charter rates for the latest fixtures continue to be on an uptrend. Currently, all six of the group’s jackup drilling rigs are contracted. Velesto expects its rig utilisation to remain high in 2024, with some rigs contracted up to 2026. Velesto said it was actively bidding for new tenders for local and international contracts scheduled to be performed in 2025 and beyond.

VAALCO Energy is in discussions with the owner of Svenska Petroleum Exploration AB regarding a possible debt-free corporate transaction to acquire Svenska. Svenska’s primary asset is a 27.38% interest in Block CI-40 offshore Cote d’Ivoire. Block CI-40 contains the producing Baobab field, operated by Canadian Natural Resources International (CNR), with a 57.61% interest. National oil company Petroci has a 15% interest. Svenska’s current working interest production is around 4,500 BOE/d. VAALCO stated that if the acquisition proceeds, it is expected to be funded by cash on hand and be subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory and government approvals. An infill drilling campaign at Baobab was completed in April 2019. This was carried out with Transocean 12,000-ft drillship Discoverer India, which has been cold stacked since 2020.

Offshore drilling contractor Diamond Offshore reported an adjusted net loss of $145.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to an adjusted net loss of $138.8 million in the prior quarter. Diamond President and CEO Bernie Wolford, Jr. called 2023 “a transformational year” for the company. Wolford noted that 2023 saw Diamond Offshore make improvements to its capital structure, secure $485 million in new contract awards, complete special periodic surveys on five rigs and complete eight contract start-ups. Diamond Offshore’s revenue for the fourth quarter of 2023 totaled $298 million, compared to $245 million in the third quarter of 2023. Diamond attributed this increase to the 12,000-ft drillship Ocean Blackhawk starting its contract with Occidental in the US GOM and new contract commencements for the 3,000-ft semisub Ocean Patriot and the 6,000-ft Ocean Apex in the UK and Australia, respectively. The company has reported $362 million in contract awards year-to-date in 2024. Earlier this month, Diamond secured new contracts for the 12,000-ft drillship Ocean BlackLion and semisubmersible Ocean Patriot. The company expects “notable” average dayrate improvements in 2024 as its rigs transition to new contracts.

Diamond Offshore is planning to carry out blowout preventer (BOP) recertification on its 10,000-ft semisub Ocean Endeavor in late 2024. The rig has been working for Shell on several fields in the UK North Sea since 2019 and its current and last stretch of the contract is expected to end in December 2024. The unit completed its SPS in Norway in the first quarter of 2023. These days, it is expected to move from the Gannet to Penguins field in the Northern North Sea where it will stay for about three months. Diamond reported in its latest fleet status report that it expects approximately 45 days out-of-service time for the rig to carry out BOP recertification, starting in mid-December 2024. The semisub has no further commitments thereafter.

Diamond Offshore has provided an estimate of financial implications resulting from a recent incident on its 10,000-ft semisubmersible Ocean GreatWhite. The incident in which the lower marine riser package (LMRP) had been disconnected from the BOP on the well happened while the rig was working for bp in the West of Shetland area at the beginning of February 2024. Subsequently, the LMRP and the deployed riser string unintentionally separated from the rig and dropped to the seabed. The rig is currently in the process of recovering the LMRP to the surface. In its Q4 2023 call on Wednesday, Diamond said that it estimates the rig will be off rate for approximately 90-100 days, which could result in approximately $24-$27 million reduction in revenue over the course of the first and second quarters. It is estimated to be back earning dayrate by the end of April or early May 2024. Diamond’s current estimate of incremental recovery costs in repairs and maintenance is approximately $20-$25 million and the current estimate of replacement capital expenditures is $12-$15 million. Diamond anticipates that the incident will be covered by the hull and machinery insurance policy and that incremental costs of $10 million deductible should be reimbursable under the policy. Diamond also maintains the loss of hire insurance on the GreatWhite. After a 60-day waiting period, the loss of hire insurance provides $150,000 per day for up to 180 days for each day of lost revenue as a result of a property loss claim. Based on current expectations of being out of service for 90-100 days, the loss of hire insurance may provide proceeds of approximately $4.5-6 million.

Seadrill reported net income of $73 million for the fourth quarter of 2024, with operating revenues of $408 million, contract revenues of $315 million and adjusted EBITDA of $100 million for the same quarter. The company’s net income for 2023 was $300 million with full-year operating profit of $329 million and full-year Adjusted EBITDA of $495 million. Seadrill President and CEO Simon Johnson stated that 2024 “will be a year of transition” and will “have some challenges” but that the company’s “optimism about the medium- and longer-term outlook for the offshore deepwater drilling industry and our competitive positioning within it remains positive and unchanged.” Johnson said that the company has planned and prepared for shipyard stays and accompanying capital expenditure in 202 and would continue to act proactively to manage and mitigate its exposure to contract gaps and cost inflation. As of 28 February 2024, Seadrill’s order backlog stood at around $2.9 billion, including approximately $1.1 billion in contract additions and adjustments since 27 November 2023.

Viaro Energy now holds 100% of licence P.2593 located in the West of Shetland through its wholly-owned subsidiary, RockRose Energy, and is now the licence administrator. Licence P.2593 is placed close to the RockRose-owned existing producing assets and infrastructure. The company is now evaluating existing plans and the most advantageous opportunities in the licence to progress to the next phase. The licence includes the Tuck discovery, a Cretaceous gas-bearing reservoir, trapped on the North West flank of the Rona Ridge. The discovery is supported by an amplitude anomaly, which indicates thicker and better-quality reservoir sands, up dip and along strike from the discovery well. In addition, the licence area holds several other prospects and leads, including the Boulmer prospect, a ‘drill-ready’ Devonian structure with up to 800m of Lower Clair sediments. Francesco Mazzagatti, CEO of Viaro Energy, said the Tuck discovery could hold considerable resources and the licence’s proximity to the company’s existing assets in the Greater Laggan Area offers important potential for extending the life of the infrastructure, including the Shetland Gas Plant.

Seadrill’s 10,000-ft 6th Gen semisub West Phoenix is scheduled for a shipyard stay later this year, but the types of upgrades it will receive will depend on the destination market of a potential new contract. The rig has been working for Vår Energi in Norway since August 2021 with a dayrate of $359,000. The contract is expected to end in August 2024 and, as reported in November 2023, it is then expected to go to a shipyard to complete its special periodic survey (SPS) and some upgrade works.Speaking about the planned upgrades, Seadrill executives said in the company’s Q4 2023 call on Thursday that the destination market will influence the type of upgrades the rig will receive. Furthermore, any new potential contract is not expected to start before the second quarter of 2025. Seadrill has said it has some capital investment planned for the rig; depending on the market it goes to, that market will drive the type of investment. However, Seadrill will not spend a significant amount of capital unless it has a very clear line of sight towards something. The unit is being marketed in the North Sea and elsewhere. Previously, the semisub was the low bidder in the OMV tender for work at the Neptun Deep project in the Black Sea off Romania, but the contract was eventually awarded to the Transocean Barents semisub, which has recently arrived in Cartagena, Spain for preparations.

Executives at Seadrill said that they have started early conversations with Petrobras and other operators about future work for drillships that are currently working in Brazil under legacy contracts. The 12,000-ft drillships West CarinaWest Jupiter, and West Tellus are currently working for Petrobras at dayrates in the mid-$200,000s. These contracts were all fixed in late 2021 and run until November 2025 for West Carina and West Jupiter and into January 2026 for West Tellus. Seadrill expects dayrates for the rigs to be higher if the rigs are recontracted in Brazil; the company recently secured work with Petrobras for the 12,000-ft drillship West Auriga and the 10,000-ft West Polaris at dayrates in the $400,000s. Seadrill executives said that they are also open to moving West Carina, West Jupiter, and West Tellus to other markets if required.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries has moved the deadline for submission of bids in its Shallow Water Competitive Bid Round 2023 from 2 April 2025 to 27 May 2024. Successful bids will be announced four months after the close of bidding. Shallow Water Competitive Bid Round 2023 was opened on 3 October 2023 and contains 13 offshore blocks along the western, eastern, southern and northern coasts of Trinidad and Tobago. Blocks on offer are Block 1(b), Block 2(ab), Block 2(d), Block 4(c), Block Lower Reverse L, Block Modified U(c), Guayaguayare (Offshore) Block, Block 21, Block 22(a), Block 22(b), Block NCMA 2, Block NCMA 3 and Block NCMA 4(a). These blocks will be governed by Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) agreements. Under the terms of the PSC, operators will receive a license with an initial period of eight years for each block. Upon a commercial discovery, it may be renewed for 25 years. If no commercial discovery is made, the license terminates automatically.

Seadrill 12,000-ft semisubmersible Sevan Louisiana is undergoing its 10-year special periodic survey in the US GOM. The survey is expected to be completed in March 2024, after which the rig is available. Sevan Louisiana was active in the US GOM throughout 2022 and 2023 and concluded a well program with Talos in late December 2023. Seadrill stated that they are marketing the rig in the US GOM and abroad and are optimistic on the rig’s contracting potential. Seadrill Chief Commercial Officer, Samir Ali, commented that the Sevan Louisiana is one of the last remaining semisubs “in an increasingly bifurcated US Gulf of Mexico” and “competes in a smaller secondary segment focused on lower priced and more niche applications.” With Valaris 8,500-ft semisub Valaris DPS-5 recently moving to Mexico for work, Sevan Louisiana is one of three semisubmersibles left in the US GOM alongside cold stacked Valaris units, the 8,500-ft semisubs Valaris DPS-3 and Valaris DPS-6, which are not currently marketed for work.

Image credit: Diamond Offshore

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