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Much of this week's developments in the industry have been overshadowed by events in the Saudi jackup market, as various drilling contractors disclosed some of the details of discussions with Saudi Aramco regarding jackup contract suspensions. These contractors include Shelf Drilling, ADES, Borr Drilling, Arabian Drilling, COSL, and ARO Drilling. Meanwhile, Transocean, Noble, and COSL rigs have firmed up new work in the US Gulf of Mexico, Suriname, and the North Sea, respectively.

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


Shelf Drilling has received a notice of suspension of operations on four jackup rigs from a customer in the Middle East. The company is in active discussions with the customer to determine which rigs will be suspended and the exact timing of the suspensions. Shelf Drilling understands that, during the suspension period, it will have the right to actively market the rigs to other customers and opportunities and to terminate the applicable contracts. It is anticipated that the suspensions will impact the financial guidance given in Shelf Drilling’s Q4 2023 reports. The company will assess the impact and provide an update to the guidance as part of its Q1 2024 reporting once precise details on the rigs and timing are known. Shelf Drilling CEO, David Mullen, said: “We are disappointed with the decision to suspend four of our rigs, particularly in light of the outstanding operating performance of our rigs and teams over many years in the Middle East. This recent development will create near-term challenges, but we remain optimistic on the long-term outlook for the business. We have a leading position in multiple regions and see opportunities across our geographic footprint for our fleet of rigs.” While Shelf Drilling hasn’t specified who the customer is, most of its Middle East fleet is contracted by Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi operator has recently reversed its previous plans to increase production capacity, which led to a lot of speculations in the market regarding the impact of this on the country’s rig count. Shelf Drilling currently has nine jackups contracted to Saudi Aramco, including the 250-ft High Island IX, the 270-ft High Island IIHigh Island IV, and High Island V, the 300-ft Main Pass IMain Pass IV, and Harvey H. Ward, the 350-ft Shelf Drilling Achiever, and the 375-ft Shelf Drilling Victory. In Shelf Drilling’s recent report for Q4 2023, Mullen said that, despite a possible reduction in Saudi Arabia, incremental demand in other regions was expected to sustain a strong level of jackup activity and utilisation for the foreseeable future. Speaking during Saudi Aramco’s 2023 results call in March, CEO Amin Nasser said the company would be dropping a few offshore rigs working on oil projects, but that it would also pick up more rigs for work on gas projects. Nasser expects the number of onshore and offshore rigs Aramco is using to remain at a little over 300 rigs.

Transocean has secured a 365-day contract extension for 12,000-ft drillship Deepwater Asgard with an independent operator in the US GOM. The program is expected to commence in June 2024 in direct continuation of the rig’s current program and includes additional services. The total contract value of around $195 million includes a $10.9 million lump sum payment, which is not included in the estimated backlog of around $184 million. While Transocean did not disclose the client for this extension, the rig has been working for Hess since April 2023 on a contract fixed in 2022 which was understood to have multiple year-long extensions available. Hess has recently filed for a number of permits to drill at Green Canyon Block 468, part of the Stampede field, with Deepwater Asgard. Deepwater Asgard is a 7th generation, DSME 12000 design unit, delivered in 2014.

Petronas has exercised an option for Noble 12,000-ft drillship Noble Voyager to drill an additional well on Block 52 offshore Suriname at a dayrate of $470,000. The contract extension is expected to commence in direct continuation of the current well, with an estimated duration of 70 days. The 7th generation drillship has been working for Petronas offshore Suriname since February 2024, following a rig swap agreement that saw the rig take over work from Noble 10,000-ft semisubmersible Noble Discoverer. Prior to the exercise of the option, Noble estimated Noble Voyager to complete work with Petronas in June 2024, indicating that the 70-day extension will keep the rig working for Petronas until around late August / early September 2024. Petronas recently signed an agreement for further exploration on Block 52.

Offshore drilling firm ADES said Thursday it had mutually agreed with its client Saudi Aramco to temporarily suspend operations of five jackup rigs operating in Saudi Arabia. ADES, which has 33 jackups on contract in the Kingdom, said the suspensions were for a period of up to 12 months, without providing details on which rigs exactly were being suspended. One of the suspended rigs will be deployed to a recently awarded campaign in Thailand that is scheduled to start operations in the second half of 2024, while a second rig is poised for “another imminent opportunity in the region.“ According to ADES, the suspensions for the five jackups will be effective seven days from the signing date of the mutually agreed suspension notice, or when the work currently in progress is completed and the drilling unit is released, whichever is later. The drilling firm also said the suspension mechanism offers enough flexibility for the suspended rigs to complete the firm and optional terms of new deployments before resuming work in Saudi Arabia post-suspension. Also, ADES clarified that the original term of the suspended contracts will automatically be extended for a period equal to the suspension for each rig, preserving the remaining backlog for the respective contracts. As for the rig that is bound for Thailand and the one set for ‘imminent award in the region’, ADES says these rigs have secured higher dayrates compared to ADES’ current offshore average daily rates, “translating into a favourable impact on overall profitability.“ Further, the drilling contractor said it would continue to actively market the remaining rigs globally. Other contractors with jackup rigs on contract with Saudi Aramco include Borr Drilling, ARO Drilling, COSL, Saipem, Egyptian Drilling, and Arabian Drilling.

Borr Drilling has received a notice of temporary suspension of operations for its 400-ft jackup Arabia I, operating for Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia. Borr Drilling said on Thursday that the temporary suspension would be for a period of up to 12 months. The suspension is expected to start in the second quarter of the year. Before the news of the suspension emerged, the rig had been expected to remain on a contract with Saudi Aramco until the end of October 2025, with a possible one-year extension thereafter. Borr Drilling said it intended to seek alternative engagement for the rig while on suspension. The company has two more 400-ft jackups operating for Saudi Aramco, the Arabia II, and the Arabia III.

Drilling contractor Arabian Drilling is in discussions with Saudi Aramco for contract suspensions of up to 12 months for three of its jackups. Arabian Drilling stated that the impacted rigs and the timing of the suspensions are yet to be confirmed, with an update to be provided once discussions with the Saudi Arabian state oil company are finalised. Arabian Drilling’s 2024 revenue guidance is unchanged. Arabian Drilling has nine jackups currently under contract to Saudi Aramco: the 250-ft ArabDrill 17, and the the 400-ft ArabDrill 50, ArabDrill 60ArabDrill 70ArabDrill 110ArabDrill 120ArabDrill 130ArabDrill 140, and  ArabDrill 150.

China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL) stated that it had received a notice from a “customer in the Middle East” to suspend the operation of four jackups. This client is understood to be Saudi Aramco, which is in discussions for contract suspensions with a number of drilling contractors in Saudi Arabia. COSL is negotiating about the specific time for suspensions, follow-up arrangement and corresponding solutions. During the suspension period, COSL said it would seek “suitable market opportunities in a simultaneous manner.” The specific impact on COSL’s Middle East operations is under evaluation. COSL’s Board believes the suspension will pose “a short-term challenge” to its development in the Middle East but will have no material impact on its overall business and financial position. COSL has not specified the units under discussion for suspension, but the drilling contractor is understood to have nine units currently under contract to Saudi Aramco.

ARO Drilling has received a notice of suspension from Saudi Aramco of the contract for 350-ft jackup Valaris 143. The suspension period is for up to 12 months. ARO Drilling is in discussions to determine the effective date of the suspension. Valaris 143 was previously expected to end its contract with Aramco offshore Saudi Arabia in December 2024. During the suspension period, ARO will have the right to terminate the drilling contract. ARO Drilling is a joint venture between Valaris and Saudi Aramco. Valaris leases the 2010-built unit Valaris 143 to ARO Drilling under a bareboat charter agreement. ARO Drilling manages 19 jackups either currently contracted to Aramco or scheduled to begin work with Aramco in the near future.

Since Saudi Aramco announced in late January 2024 that it had been directed by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy to maintain its maximum sustainable capacity at 12 million b/d rather than continue towards a previous goal of 13 million b/d, the offshore drilling market has awaited the effect this would have on the large number of jackups under contract. This week, Aramco has issued notices to multiple drilling contractors of contract suspensions. According to market sources, 23 jackups are to have their contracts with Aramco suspended in the coming months. Aramco currently has 92 jackups either under contract or scheduled to begin work within the next several months. The state oil company had been on a hiring spree over the past few years; with 97 fixtures recorded from 2021 to 2023. This had a major impact on the global jackup market as Middle East-based companies such as ADES and Arabian Drilling bought jackups from around the world to meet Aramco demand, while other contractors moved rigs into the region. Combined with rig retirements, much of the excess capacity in the jackup market was absorbed, leading to higher utilisation in multiple regions. So far this week, Valaris joint venture ARO Drilling has reported a contract suspension for the 350-ft jackup Valaris 143 while Borr Drilling received a suspension notice for the 400-ft Arabia I. Other drilling contractors have not yet specified the particular units to be suspended but have reported total numbers; 4 Shelf Drilling jackups, 5 ADES jackups, 3 Arabian Drilling jackups and 4 COSL jackups. On top of these 18 jackups, sources have indicated that 3 Saipem jackups and 2 Egyptian Drilling jackups are also receiving suspension notices. The contract suspensions are for up to 12 months, with some drilling contractors in discussions for the exact timing of the suspensions and in some cases which jackups will be affected. Market information indicates that Aramco is targeting a staggered approach to the suspensions, with rigs beginning suspensions at various points from the current month into the first quarter of 2025. ADES stated that suspensions shall be effective seven days from the signing date of the mutually agreed suspension notice, or when the work currently in progress is completed and the rig is released, whichever is later. The original term of the suspended contracts will automatically be extended for a period equal to the suspension for each rig, preserving the remaining backlog for the respective contracts. Drilling contractors have the right to actively market the rigs to other customers and opportunities and to terminate the applicable contracts during the suspension period. Suspended rigs are understood to be able to complete the firm and optional terms of new deployments before restarting work with Aramco post suspension. Contractors have already begun securing work for affected rigs. One of the ADES units targeted for suspension secured a letter of intent in March 2024 with PTTEP for an 18-month contract offshore Thailand. ADES stated that a second rig is “poised for another imminent opportunity in the region.” Borr Drilling has confirmed that it will seek “alternative engagement” for the Arabia I and Shelf Drilling stated that the company sees “see opportunities across [its] geographic footprint” for its rigs. In recent months, several drilling contractors have discussed that many of the jackups that find themselves without work due to Aramco’s cutbacks are likely to find jobs in other regions. Drilling contractors are marketing rigs for work in Southeast Asia and West Africa, where there are a number of opportunities for long-term work starting in 2024 and 2025. In addition, Indian state oil company ONGC is expected to award 7 three-year contracts to jackups by the end of the year in an ongoing tendering process. Some units may be able to find work closer to their current location as there are currently some open requirements for jackups in Qatar. Though competitive utilisation for jackups globally is currently strong at 87%, an additional 23 jackups competing for work over the next year is expected to impact dayrates as rig owners seek to secure new contracts. The increase in available rigs is expected to lead to some flattening in dayrates this year, and some new fixtures signed over the next several months may be below recent peaks.

COSL Drilling has confirmed a new contract award for its 2,460-ft semisubmersible, COSLPioneer, with Vår Energi in Norway. This contract ensures that all of COSL’s North Sea units will be operational in the Norwegian sector by mid-next year. The COSLPioneer contract with Vår Energi is expected to begin in Q1 2025 for a firm period of 18 months, plus up to a total of 3.5 years of options. The total duration including options is five years. Should all options get exercised, it would keep the rig busy until 2030. The semisub is currently operating for Ithaca Energy on the Captain field in the UK sector of the North Sea and it is expected to move on to its next contract in mid-April. This contract is with CNOOC on the Ettrick field where the unit is planned to work on a P&A campaign until mid-September or early October 2024. This latest contract confirmation for the COSLPioneer follows the contract announcements for three other COSL rigs in late August 2023. These were awarded by Equinor to the 2,460-ft semisubs COSLPromoter and COSLInnovator and by Vår Energi to the 4,921-ft COSLProspector. The COSLPromoter is already contracted to Equinor and will begin on the new contract in 1Q 2025. Meanwhile, in addition to operations for Equinor, the rig will also drill two wells for Wellesley, under a sublet agreement with Equinor. The two wells, the Toppand East exploration well and the Gnomoria delineation well, are scheduled for Q2 2024. On the other hand, COSLInnovator has been at the CCB yard in Norway since early February 2024 where it has been carrying out its special periodic survey (SPS) ahead of a five-well campaign in the UK North Sea operated by Petrofac for Dana and Serica. The unit is expected to leave the yard in the coming days. After completing this campaign and a short yard stay in Norway, the rig is expected to begin the new contract with Equinor in late Q2 2025. When it comes to the COSLProspector, Vår Energi last August awarded the rig a two-year firm contract for work in the Barents Sea. The Norwegian operator is increasing its exploration activity in 2024 compared to 2023, with involvement in 16 planned wells targeting over 150 mmboe of net risked prospective resources. The rig arrived from China to Norway in early February 2024 and it is currently preparing for the contract expected to start by August 2024. Following these new contract awards, by mid-2025, all COSL-managed units in the North Sea will be working under long-term contracts in Norway with the potential for continuous work through options until around 2030.

Drilling Activity and Discoveries

Oil and gas company EnQuest plans to drill three infill wells and deliver three well workovers, with six wells to be plugged and abandoned at its PM8/Seligi field offshore Malaysia. These well programmes will mobilise at the end of the first quarter of the year, EnQuest said. The company is planning a two-week shutdown at PM8/Seligi to undertake asset integrity and maintenance activities in the summer, which will help to improve reliability and efficiency at the field. To further improve compressor reliability, a turbine control panel upgrade is planned for the second train at the end of the third quarter. “EnQuest has significant 2P reserves and 2C resources of c.28 MMboe and c.80 MMboe, respectively, with future multi-well annual drilling programmes planned. The group continues to work with the regulator to assess the opportunity to develop the additional gas resource at PM8/Seligi to meet forecast Malaysian demand,” EnQuest said. Malaysia Marine Department said recently that EnQuest would transport the 800-ft tender assisted drilling rig Sapura Pelaut from Labuan to Seligi E at PM8 Block, offshore Terengganu, Malaysia, with the transport and drilling operations running between 7 March and 31 July 2024. The field is operated by EnQuest, with Petronas as a partner.

Deepwater US GOM-focused operator LLOG Exploration Company plans to drill and complete multiple wells across the Buckskin, Leon and Castile fields in the US GOM and drill three additional prospects in the area of its Who Dat development in 2024. These prospects have the potential to be tied back to the company’s Who Dat floating production system. LLOG currently has two rigs under contract in the US GOM; Seadrill 12,000-ft drillship West Neptune and Noble 12,000-ft drillship Noble Valiant. In Q4 2023, LLOG secured an extension keeping West Neptune through the second quarter of 2025. The company has additional extension options available. Six months of options for Noble Valiant were exercised in January 2024, keeping the rig with LLOG into the first quarter of 2025. LLOG brought the Taggart field in the US GOM online in 2023 with three wells and commenced production of additional wells at its Buckskin and Spruance fields. The company has also recently started Phase Two development at the Who Dat field with workovers, recompletions, sidetracks, and the completion and tieback of two wells.

Deltic Energy has received the required regulatory and partner consents for the farm-out of a 25% interest in the Shell-operated Licence P2437 in the UK North Sea, containing the Selene Prospect, to Dana Petroleum. Drilling operations on the Selene well are expected to begin in the summer of 2024. The farm-out, announced on 7 February 2024, has now been completed. This transaction, in combination with the existing Shell carry, results in Deltic retaining a 25% non-operated interest in Licence P2437 and having no exposure to 2024 drilling and testing costs up to a cost cap of $49M (gross), which is in excess of current success case well cost estimates provided by the operator. Following the announcement of the rig contract for the 400-ft jackup Valaris 123 on 5 February 2024, the Selene well remains on track, with operations expected to begin in July 2024. The rig is currently in Dundee where it’s preparing for its upcoming one-well contract with Ithaca, which will be followed by the Shell contract on the Selene and Pensacola wells. Graham Swindells, Chief Executive of Deltic Energy, commented: “Well planning remains on schedule and we are looking forward to commencing Selene well operations with Shell and Dana in the summer. Our attention is now firmly focussed on drawing the Pensacola farm-out process to a successful conclusion and we look forward to updating the market in due course.”

The Norwegian Offshore Directorate (NOD) has granted Wintershall Dea Norge a drilling permit for an exploration well in the North Sea offshore Norway. The well 35/11-27 S, targeting Cuvette, is located in production licence 248. It is operated by Wintershall Dea with Petoro participating as a partner. Wintershall Dea has already secured consent to drill the well with the 10,000-ft semisub Transocean Norge. The water depth at the site is 378 meters.

Following operator LLOG’s announcement of new wells to be drilled at the Who Dat field in the US GOM, partner Karoon Energy has confirmed that the Who Dat East appraisal/exploration well will be drilled with drillship Noble Valiant, while the Who Dat South exploration well will be drilled with drillship West Neptune. The Who Dat East well on Mississippi Canyon Block 509 is expected to spud in April 2024, using Noble 12,000-ft drillship Noble Valiant. The well aims to delineate a discovery made in 2001 and test additional targets. Drilling and evaluation is expected to take 56 days, with a total measured depth of around 7,925 m (26,000 ft) planned for the well. Subject to results, Who Day East may be suspended as potential future producing well. LLOG is expected to spud the Who Dat South exploration on Mississippi Canyon 545-1 towards the end of the second quarter of 2024 with Seadrill 12,000-ft drillship West Neptune. This well is testing two targets and is estimated to contain 31 MMboe of gross unrisked 2U Prospective Resources. Who Dat South is expected to take around 50 days to drill and evaluate. Total measured depth is expected to be around 7,425 m (24,630 ft). In addition to three Who Dat wells in 2024, LLOG also has plans to drill at the Buckskin, Leon and Castile fields in the US GOM. LLOG is the operator of Who Dat East with a 40% interest, while joint venture partner Karoon holds a 40% interest and Westlawn a 20% interest. LLOG also operates Who Dat South with a 40% interest, while partners Karoon and Westlawn each hold 30%.


Prima Energi has received approval from Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources for a revised plan of development (POD) for the Ande-Ande Lumut (AAL) Oil Field, located in shallow waters on the Northwest Natuna PSC in the West Natuna Sea. Prima Energi and government officials noted that development of the field is challenging due to its remote location, proximity to the Malaysian border area, heavy oil, and tendency for sand problems. Under the revised POD, the project will be implemented in two stages, with the initial stage involving the installation of platform jackets and drilling of seven horizontal production wells to produce oil from both K and G sand layers. The production facility in the revised POD involves a central production platform and a floating, storage and offloading facility. Prima Energi is targeting production of 20,000 bopd at the field by the end of 2026. The company will also conduct further studies on exploration activities for existing prospects to increase reserves and resources in the Northwest Natuna Work Area.

Reliance has updated a contract start window and extension options under its drillship tender in India. The new contract start window is between 1 December 2025 to 31 January 2026. The new scope of work involves a firm duration of four wells with an estimated duration of nine to ten months and six extension options. Option one is for up to two wells with an estimated duration of two to four months, options two to three are for one well with an estimated duration of two to three months, option four is for two to four wells with an estimated duration of two to six months, option five is for five wells with an estimated duration of up to three months, and option six is for up to 13 wells with an estimated duration of up to six months. The Transocean-owned 6th generation 12,000-ft drillship Dhirubhai Deepwater KG1 worked for Reliance from Q3 2018 until the end of January 2024.

Mobilisation/Rig Moves

The 800-ft tender assist drilling rig Sapura Berani has left EPIC Group’s West Wharf in Kemaman Port in Terengganu, where it had been since December 2023. EPIC’s COO Muhtar Bin Suhaili said the rig had spent over three months in the port for stacking, maintenance, and jobs on-hiring, before leaving the port in late March. While the COO did not say what the next destination was for the Sapura Energy-owned semi-submersible, the Malaysian Hydrographic Office said earlier in March that the rig would move to waters off Sarawak to start drilling for JX Nippon Oil & Gas. According to its notice to mariners, JX Nippon will tow the rig to the Layan Wellhead Platform and Helang Integrated Platform at Block SK 10 offshore Sarawak. The rig is expected to stay there between 1 April and 31 December, 2024. JX Nippon is the operator of the SK 10 Project, with Petronas as a partner.

Vantage Drilling 12,000-ft drillship Platinum Explorer has begun its mobilisation from Indian waters to Singapore, then onto Labuan, Malaysia, where the rig will undergo its five-year special periodic survey, maintenance and be upgraded with a six-ram BOP. The six-ram BOP was acquired in 2016 but not needed during the rig’s time under contract with ONGC, which ran from late 2017 into February 2024. The rig is currently available beyond its planned shipyard stay.

Noble Corporation’s 400-ft jackup Noble Regina Allen has left the North Sea region and is en route to Argentina ahead of a new contract with TotalEnergies. Noble Regina Allen had been undergoing repairs and contract preparations in the Netherlands since April 2023. The rig secured the three-well contract with TotalEnergies for work on the Fénix project offshore Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina in September 2023. This term is expected to run around 220 days and has four one-well options available. Meanwhile, TotalEnergies in February 2024 completed the installation of the Fénix platform located in around 70 m (230 ft) of water. Noble Regina Allen will be temporarily located next to the platform. Following the completion of repairs, the rig was loaded onto the heavy-lift vessel GPO Grace in late March 2024, and set sail to Argentina over the last weekend. The contract is expected to start in late April 2024.

The Ocean Oilfield-owned 150-ft jackup B152 will perform its special periodic survey (SPS) at the KEZAD shipyard in Abu Dhabi. The jackup is expected to stay in KEZAD shipyard for a few weeks before returning to continue its contract with ADNOC. ADNOC exercised a one-year option for the rig in March 2024. With this extension, the unit will remain busy until July 2025.

Ocean Oilfield’s 280-ft jackup Aras Driller has left the shipyard and is en route to its first location to start drilling operations for Pakistan International Oil Limited. Aras Driller performed its maintenance, contract preparation and acceptance test for this campaign in the KEZAD shipyard in Abu Dhabi. The contract with ADNOC Drilling for Pakistan International Oil Limited in the UAE has a firm term of 230 days with a 50-day option.

The 2012-built 10,000-ft semisubmersible La Muralla IV has been renamed Independencia 2 and moved from Curacao to Aruba after underdoing a yard stay for reactivation. The unit is owned by a subsidiary of Carso Infraestructura y Construccion S.A (CICSA) and managed by OOS Energy Rig Management Services. Independencia 2 underwent an initial stage of reactivation in the Bahamas then was moved to Curacao in late June 2023, where it has undergone inspection of the main drilling load path equipment, upgrade of the BOP to Standard 53, full overhaul of its eight thrusters and major maintenance of all other drilling and well control equipment. CICSA also owns the 10,000-ft semisubmersible Centenario GR, which is stacked in Mexican waters. The company plans to rename this unit Independencia 3.

ADES’ 250-ft jackup Admarine 261 completed its OOS and left the yard in Bahrain on Thursday. The rig is now on the move in the Persian Gulf, apparently being towed by the Lanpan 33 vessel, en route to Saudi waters, where it will start its contract with Saudi Aramco. The Admarine 261 has a long-term contract that should keep it busy in Saudi Arabia until late May 2031. Worth noting, the Admarine 261 is one of 33 jackup rigs ADES has on contract with Saudi Aramco. This number will soon be reduced by five units, as ADES said Thursday it had mutually agreed with its client Saudi Aramco to temporarily suspend operations of five jackup rigs operating in Saudi Arabia. ADES said the suspensions were for a period of up to 12 months, without providing details on which rigs exactly were being suspended.

The Valaris-owned 12,000-ft drillship Valaris DS-17 has set sail to Rio de Janeiro as it commences its journey to Argentina for a contract with Equinor. The drillship left Equinor’s Bacalhau field in the Santos basin on 4 April 2024 where it had been working since September 2023. Equinor plans to drill the Argerich-1 prospect in the Block CAN_100 in the North Argentina Basin, at a water depth of around 1,5000 metres. Operations should last around 60 days. After that, the rig will return to Brazil to continue its contract in the Bacalhau development.

Other News

Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., Ltd. (MOECO) has, with its partners, made a final investment decision and concluded related contracts regarding the Block B Project development in Vietnam, encompassing an upstream gas field and a pipeline linking it to a gas-fired thermal power plant complex. Apart from MOECO, the business partners include the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN), a Vietnamese national oil and gas company, PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation Limited (PVEP), PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (PV Gas), and PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP), a Thai national oil and gas company. Production capacity from the project is estimated to be 490 million cubic feet per day, with production scheduled to begin by the end of 2026 and run until 2049. The gas field is located 330 km offshore southeast Vietnam, and the plan includes drilling 37 pre-production wells and 861 wells in total during project life. In addition to the development of the PetroVietnam-operated upstream gas field, the Block B Project will also include a midstream development for gas transportation via a pipeline. The total pipeline length will be 433km of which 330 km are offshore and 103 km are onshore.

Diamond Offshore expects to complete the sale of cold stacked 10,000-ft semisubmersible Ocean Monarch for recycling in the first half of 2024. Diamond Offshore began reporting Ocean Monarch as held for sale in 2023 and engaged a broker to assist in evaluating the sale of the unit. The rig is currently being marketed for recycling. Ocean Monarch is an ODECO Victory design semisub, originally delivered in 1974. The unit has been cold stacked in Malaysia since the second quarter of 2022.

Beacon Offshore Energy LLC has completed the divestment of its non-operated interests in certain fields in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to O.G. Oil & Gas Limited affiliate company GOM 1 Holding Inc. The divestment includes an18.7% interest in the Buckskin producing field, 17% interest in the Leon development, 16.15% interest in the Castile development, 0.5% interest in the Salamanca FPS/lateral infrastructure, and 32.83% interest in the Sicily discovery. Beacon Chairman and CEO Scott Gutterman said that the company would now be able to allocate “100% of our focus and resources” to its operated properties, including the Shenandoah and Winterfell developments in the US GOM.

Orcadian Energy has completed the previously announced farm-out of an 81.25% interest in licence P2244 in the UK North Sea, which contains the Pilot field, to Ping Petroleum. Ping is focused on shallow water offshore production and development opportunities and has a significant acreage holding to the east of Pilot. Following the execution of a sale and purchase agreement in December 2023 and its subsequent completion, Orcadian Energy now retains an 18.75% interest in the Pilot field development, fully carried to the first offload of oil produced from the field. Orcadian has no requirement to fund the pre-production development project work programme. Ping has now been appointed the operator of the licence. The near-term focus of the Ping team will be to select a suitable FPSO and prepare a FDP for submission to the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA). Orcadian will support the Ping team, especially on the sub-surface aspects of a draft FDP, which has already been reviewed by NSTA.

Northern Drilling’s applications for leave to appeal an arbitrations tribunal’s awards have been refused and the company’s applications challenging the awards on grounds of serious irregularity have been dismissed by ruling of the UK’s Technology and Construction Court. Northern Drilling is considering the ruling. Arbitration proceedings were carried out between Northern Drilling subsidiaries West Aquila Inc. and West Libra Inc. and shipbuilder Hanwha Ocean Co., Ltd. (formerly Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd) over the cancellation of resale contract for 12,000-ft drillships West Aquila and West Libra due to delays of delivery. In September 2023, the tribunal found in favour of Hanwha and dismissed West Aquila Inc. and West Libra Inc’s claims. Northern Drilling announced its intention to appeal in October 2023. The West Aquila was eventually bought by Transocean and was delivered in 2023 under the name Deepwater Aquila. The rig will begin a contract with Petrobras offshore Brazil this year. The West Libra is owned by Hanwha Ocean.

Eldorado Drilling is understood to have taken delivery of the 12,000-ft 7th generation drillship Dorado, also known as West Dorado, from Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea. Asset management company Pelago Management, which has been overseeing the delivery and operational readiness of Eldorado Drilling drillships Zonda, Dorado and Draco since September 2023, announced the delivery of the Dorado. The 12,000-ft Zonda was delivered from Samsung Heavy Industries in early March 2024 and is currently in Singapore undergoing preparations for its first contract with Petrobras offshore Brazil, to begin later this year. The 12,000-ft Draco, also known as West Draco, is presently undelivered at Samsung Heavy Industries. Eldorado Drilling purchased the three Samsung 12000 design rigs in 2023, with West Dorado bought in January 2023. The rig was originally ordered by Seadrill in 2013; the order was cancelled in 2018 and the shipyard assumed ownership of the unit.

Panoro Energy has reached an agreement with the government of Equatorial Guinea on the key terms and conditions for the award of offshore Block EG-23. The Heads of Terms agreements between Panoro, state oil company GEPetrol and the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons clear the way for a period of exclusive negotiations to finalise a production sharing contract for the block and the development of a work programme. Panoro expects its initial participating interest in Block EG-23 to be up to 80%. Block EG-23 covers 600 square kilometers in water depths of up 328 ft. Seven discoveries have been reported on the block, which was previously held by Marathon. Panoro has identified a number of prospects and leads in addition to the existing discoveries and is envisaging an initial work programme focused on re-processing existing seismic data to mature prospects and leads with an option to enter a second stage with drilling.

Image credit: ARO Drilling

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