Skip to main content

We've had another busy week filled with a variety of updates from the offshore drilling industry, including new contracts confirmed for drillships and jackup units. Meanwhile, new offshore acreage is being offered in the UK, Norway, and Nigeria.

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


ADES Holding Company has received a direct award of a contract from Suez Oil Company (SUCO) in Egypt. The SUCO award in Egypt’s Gulf of Suez is for a firm 21-month term expected to start in the coming weeks. The drilling campaign will utilise a one of the five jackups that recently had their contracts with Saudi Aramco suspended. The contract value from the firm term is approximately SAR 161 million ($42.93 million). The new award follows the ADES’ recently awarded campaigns in Qatar and Thailand, which are slated to commence operations in the second half of 2024. Together, the new awards in Thailand, Qatar, and Egypt bring ADES’ total redeployments of the recently suspended rigs in Saudi Arabia to three out of five jackups.

Noble 492-ft jackup Noble Innovator has been awarded a one-well extension with bp in UK waters at a dayrate of $145,000. This extension is expected to run from January to May 2025. Two well-based priced options remain under the contract with bp, which could potentially keep Noble Innovator working for bp into August 2026. Noble Innovator has been working for bp since mid-2023.

Diamond Offshore has secured marketing rights for three new 7th generation drillships; West DoradoWest Draco, and West Libra. Diamond Offshore has entered into an agreement with Eldorado Drilling, the owner of West Dorado (also known as Dorado) and West Draco (also known as Draco), to market the rigs in Brazil, Latin America, West Africa, Malaysia, and Indonesia. West Dorado is a 12,000-ft Samsung 12000 design unit, delivered from Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea in early April 2024 and recently moved to Labuan, Malaysia. Sister rig West Draco is scheduled for delivery from Samsung Heavy Industries later this year. Both rigs were acquired by Eldorado Drilling in 2023. In a separate agreement, Diamond Offshore has agreed with shipyard Hanwha Ocean, the owner of the former West Libra now being renamed Tidal Action, to market the rig in the US GOM. This 12,000-ft, DSME 12000 design unit was originally ordered by Seadrill and is currently under construction at the Hanwha Ocean (formerly Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering) yard in South Korea. This new agreement increases Diamond Offshore’s managed fleet, following the return of the drillship West Auriga to Seadrill and the upcoming return of drillship West Vela to Seadrill later in the year.

Diamond Offshore has signed an estimated 30-day, one-well contract with Foxtrot offshore Cote D’IVoire for the 12,000-ft drillship Ocean BlackRhino. The total contract value is around $18 million, which will be pre-paid prior to commencement. The one-well contract is scheduled to begin immediately after the rig’s special periodic survey and managed pressure drilling upgrade, scheduled for later this year. Ocean BlackRhino is scheduled to complete work with Woodside offshore Senegal around August 2024, then move to Guinea-Bissau for a one-well contract with Apus Energy fixed in late 2023. The rig’s yard time for its survey and upgrade is expected to take place during the fourth quarter of 2024.

Seadrill 12,000-ft drillship West Neptune has secured a six-month contract extension with an independent operator in the US GOM, starting in the third quarter of 2025 in direct continuation of its current contract West Neptune has been working for LLOG in the US GOM since September 2021. LLOG had previously extended the rig’s contract into the second quarter of 2025. The extension is valued at around $86 million, excluding fees for additional services including managed pressure drilling (MPD). Seadrill will upgrade West Neptune with MPD capabilities during planned out-of-service periods.

Seadrill Limited has secured a contract for its 10,000-ft drillship West Capella in South Korea. The contract is for an estimated duration of 40 days, valued at approximately $32 million, including a mobilisation fee of approximately $10 million and excluding fees for additional services. This means that the dayrate, excluding additional services, is around $550,000. The contract is expected to start in December 2024. Seadrill did not say who the client was, but it is believed to be South Korea’s KNOC. The drillship is currently on a contract with Mubadala in Indonesia.

Noble has secured a new contract with an undisclosed operator for its 350-ft CJ50 harsh-environment jackup Noble Resolve, which is currently operating in Denmark, for operations offshore Spain. Without revealing any specifics, Noble hinted at securing a new work scope for the Noble Resolve during its Q1 2024 webcast earlier this week. The contract has now been confirmed and the campaign will consist of plug and abandonment work on 13 wells. It is expected to begin in Q2 2025 and last approximately 170 days. The contract value is approximately $40 million, including mobilisation and demobilisation of the unit. This is Noble’s first contract offshore Spain and it will see the jackup leave the North Sea region where it has been operating for years. With the recent departures of the 400-ft Shelf Drilling Perseverance and the 400-ft Valaris 247 to Vietnam and Australia, respectively, this move will further reduce the North Sea jackup count to 33 units. The active North Sea jackup fleet is already booked for 2024. The Noble Resolve is currently working for Ineos in the Danish sector of the North Sea under a contract scheduled to end in July 2024. Ineos previously had nine option wells for the rig, which are no longer listed as of February 2024. Before Denmark, the rig had worked in the UK and the Netherlands. Noble executives also mentioned during the Q1 2024 call that they’re tracking opportunities for follow-up work for both the Noble Resolve and the 350-ft Noble Resilient, though there might be some gaps in work during the second half of this year. The Noble Resilient has recently started a contract with Wintershall Noordzee in Denmark after completing repairs in Skagen.

Drilling Activity and Discoveries

The Norwegian Offshore Directorate (NOD) has granted Aker BP a drilling permit for wells located in the Barents Sea offshore Norway. The wells, 7324/6-2 and 7324/8-4, are located in production licence 1170, which is operated by Aker BP in partnership with Equinor, Petoro, and INPEX Idemitsu Norge. 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 and the water depth at the site is 401 meters. Aker BP has already secured consent from the Norwegian Ocean Industry Authority (Havtil) to drill these wells. Both wells will be drilled with Saipem’s 10,000-ft semisub Scarabeo 8, which is under a long-term contract with Aker BP into early 2026 with further options available.

Equinor began drilling the Argerich-1 exploration well last week in the Argentina Norte basin, 300 kilometres from the coast. The operator is using the 12,000ft drillship Valaris DS-17 for the operation. Argerich-1 is located in the CAN-100 block, in a water depth of over 1,500 metres. The job is expected to last around 60 days, when then the rig will return to Brazil to resume operations in the Bacalhau field. The prospect has the potential to hold in-place volume of over 1 billion barrels.

UK supermajor bp has started drilling the Pau Brasil prospect in the Pau Brasil pre-salt block offshore Brazil. This marks bp’s re-entrance in Brazil as an operator after 11 years. The company acquired the licence in the PSC Round 5 bidding round in 2018, holding 50% interest in the block, together with CNOOC which holds 30% and Ecopetrol with the remaining 20%. bp has chartered Valaris’ 12,000ft drillship Valaris DS-15 for the job, which is anticipated to last around 80 days. After completing the drilling, the rig will resume operations with TotalEnergies, also in Brazil, where is expected to remain busy until the third quarter of 2026.

Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) has begun drilling the Ocotillo exploration well on Mississippi Canyon Block 40 in the US GOM with Diamond Offshore 12,000-ft drillship Ocean Blackhawk. Oxy is the operator of the block with a 33% interest. Partners include Murphy Oil with 33% interest and Chevron with 34% interest. Following the drilling of Ocotillo, the rig will move to drill the Orange exploration well on Mississippi Canyon Block 216. Oxy is the operator of this block with a 50% interest while Murphy Oil holds the remaining 50%.

Talos Energy plans to start drilling the Katmai West #2 well in the US GOM in the third quarter of 2024, in order to further appraise the field. Beyond this well, Talos Energy is also planning to start drilling exploration wells Daenerys before the end of the year. The Katmai field is located on Green Canyon blocks 39 and 40 and was previously operated by QuarterNorth Energy.  Talos completed its acquisition of QuarterNorth Energy in March 2024 and is currently working on integration of QuarterNorth and its assets and infrastructure into Talos. Katmai West #1 reached first oil in July 2023. Talos has been modifying the host facility Tarantula, which connects to Katmai, to increase its capacity from 27 MBoe/d to 35 MBoe/d. Katmai West #2 will be drilled with Seadrill 12,000-ft drillship West Vela, which QuarterNorth had previously contracted for the work. Talos has the rig contracted into mid-2025, with some further options available. Following Katmai West #2, Talos will use the rig to drill the Daenerys exploration well, a subsalt project, that will evaluate the Miocene section and carries a gross unrisked recoverable resource potential between 100 and 300 MMBoe. The drilling of Daenerys is expected to run from the fourth quarter of 2024 to the first quarter of 2025. Talos also plans to drill the Helm’s Deep well in the US GOM, starting around the second quarter of 2025.

BW Energy stated that its DHBSM-2P pilot well on the Dussafu licence offshore Gabon has confirmed that the Hibiscus South deposit extends into the northern part of the field, increasing its reserve estimates at the field. BW Energy plans to complete the well as a production well this year. BW Energy began drilling DHBSM-2P with Borr Drilling 400-ft jackup Norve in April 2024. Norve is expected to continue working for BW Energy through July 2024. Evaluation of logging data, sample examination and formation pressure measurements have confirmed around 25 m of pay in an overall hydrocarbon column of 35 m in the Gamba formation. The well data has helped confirm that Hibiscus South is a separate accumulation than the finds at the nearby Hibiscus field. The company’s preliminary evaluation indicates gross recoverable reserves of 5 to 6 million barrels of oil and around 14 million barrels of oil in place.


In the latest phase of the 33rd oil and gas licensing round, the UK’s North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has offered a further 31 licences made up of 88 blocks/part blocks in the Central North Sea, East Irish Sea, and the Southern North Sea. The 33rd round was launched in October 2022 and closed for applications in January 2023. The first tranche offered 27 licences in October 2023, with the second offering 24 licences in January 2024. A total of 82 offers to 50 companies have now been made in the 33rd round, which attracted 115 bids from 76 companies across 257 blocks and part-blocks. The licences offered in the round would be expected to add an estimated 600 mmboe up to 2060, or 545 by 2050. The 31 offers in the final tranche are made up of 29 new licences and two merges. Of the 29 new licences, 23 are Initial Term Phase A or B, two will be Initial Term Phase C (firm wells), and the remaining four will go straight to Second Term, meaning they can theoretically go into production more quickly. Phase A is a period for carrying out geotechnical studies and geophysical data reprocessing; Phase B is a period for undertaking seismic surveys and acquiring other geophysical data; and Phase C is for drilling. The offers in the final tranche are for the following companies: Albion Energy, Bridge Petroleum, Dcarbonx Ltd, Deltic Energy, Finder Energy, Hartshead Resources, Horizon Energy, Ineos, NEO Energy, Neptune E&P UK, One-Dyas, Orcadian Energy, Perenco, and Petrogas.

Deltic Energy has been provisionally awarded two licences over eight blocks and part blocks by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) in Tranche 3 of the UK’s 33rd Offshore Licensing Round. However, it is uncertain which, if any, of these awards Deltic will accept. The NSTA last Friday 3 May offered a further 31 licences made up of 88 blocks/part blocks to operators in the Noth Sea. The blocks provisionally awarded to Deltic in Tranche 3 are located in the Southern North Sea and they include sub-area Blackadder (blocks 47/5b, 47/10c, 48/6c) and sub-area NE SNS (blocks 43/2b, 43/3b, 43/4b, 43/9, 43/14). All blocks are being provisionally awarded to the company on a 100% equity position and contain a mixture of small discoveries and low risk, infrastructure-led exploration prospects in the Southern North Sea Gas Basin. However, in light of the current fiscal and political environment, Deltic will “carefully consider whether accepting further licences in the UK is in the best interest of the business and its shareholders.” Graham Swindells, CEO of Deltic, commented: “We will now assess each of the provisional awards and carefully consider which, if any, of these awards the company will accept.” As recently reported, Deltic is struggling to secure a partner for the upcoming, Shell-operated Pensacola appraisal well in the UK North Sea amid fiscal uncertainty in the UK. The company has been working to farm out its 30% interest in the licence, but the fiscal uncertainty in the UK has had a negative effect on the ability of UK E&P companies to commit to long-term investments in the North Sea, posing a risk to securing farm-out before the end of May 2024. If no solution is found by then, Deltic will have to withdraw from the licence and transfer its interest to the JV partners. The well remains on track to be drilled in Q4 2024 with the 400-ft jackup Valaris 123. Meanwhile, Deltic has another ‘drill ready’ prospect in the North Sea, Syros, and is working to secure a partner through a farm-out process before the end of this year when a well commitment is required to progress to the next phase of the licence. The company is confident of attracting a joint venture partner for this well.

Speaking at the Daniel Energy Partners Offshore Executive Series in Houston, Texas on 7 May 2024, TotalEnergies Vice President – Deep Offshore Jean-Herve Morard said the company planned to take a final investment decision (FID) on the development of Block 20/11 offshore Angola an Block 58 offshore Suriname in 2025 and was likely to take FID on the Venus development offshore Namibia in 2025. Blocks 21/09 and 20/15 offshore Angola were merged into Block 20/11 (Block 20) by presidential decrees in July 2023. Block 20 contains the Cameia and Golfinho oil discoveries, which are planned to be developed through a system of subsea wells connected to an FPSO. TotalEnergies operates the block with a 40% interest, with a Petronas affiliate holding 40% and Sonangol holding 20%. TotalEnergies and its partner APA Corporation began FEED studies in 2023 for a development on Block 58 offshore Suriname, which contains the Sapakara South and Krabdagu discoveries. Reserves at this block will also be produced through a system of subsea wells connected to an FPSO. TotalEnergies executives had previously confirmed plans to take FID on the Venus development on block 2913B in the Orange Basin, offshore southern Namibia in 2025, following its recent appraisal drilling.

Oil and gas company bp is targeting a final investment decision (FID) on the Kaskida development in the US GOM, according to Andy Krieger, senior vice president Gulf of Mexico and Canada for bp, speaking at the Daniel Energy Partners Offshore Executive Series in Houston on 7 May 2024. Krieger said that bp was also working on design concepts for the Tiber field in the US GOM, with FID targeted for 2025. Kaskida and Tiber are both US GOM discoveries made in the Paleogene trend. The company estimates that it has around 9 billion barrels in place across five discoveries in the Paleogene in the US GOM.

Hartshead Resources has been notified by the UK’s North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) that it has been successful in winning 10 blocks in the recent UK 33rd Licencing Round. These blocks all contain discovered hydrocarbons and present a range of re-development, development and appraisal opportunities. In addition, there are multiple near field exploration opportunities in the blocks. Hartshead is awaiting formal notification from the NSTA, in the form of a “Data Verification Letter” for each licence to be offered. Hartshead is currently committed to developing its operated Phase I gas field development in the North Sea, subject to receiving certainty regarding future fiscal policy in the UK.

The Norwegian Ministry of Energy has announced this year’s licencing round on the Norwegian continental shelf – APA 2024. This year, the APA acreage will be expanded by a total of 37 bocks in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea. After more than 50 years of exploration activity, the APA rounds currently cover most of the area that has been opened and is available on the Norwegian continental shelf. In connection with APA 2024, the APA acreage is expanded with 37 blocks or parts of blocks. Three of the additional blocks are in the northwest of the Norwegian Sea and 34 blocks are in the east of the Barents Sea. The deadline to apply for APA 2024 is Tuesday, 3 September 2024.  The aim is to award the new production licences for the newly announced areas at the beginning of 2025. As part of Norway’s previous round, APA 2023, the Norwegian Ministry of Energy in January 2024 offered ownership interests in a total of 62 production licences to 24 companies.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has opened its 2024 Licencing Round, which is expected to last around nine months. Blocks on offshore include four deepwater offshore blocks, six blocks on Nigeria’s continental shelf, and two onshore blocks. The licencing round is being held under a regulatory framework established by the country’s Petroleum Industry Act 2021.

Mobilisation/Rig Moves

Saipem-managed 400-ft jackup Perro Negro 13 has started moving towards its drilling location in the Persian Gulf to start its contract with Saudi Aramco. Perro Negro 13 stayed a few months in the ASRY shipyard in Bahrain performing class recertification, repairs, and contract preparation. The rig was moved to Ras Tanura end of Q3 2024, where it was waiting to be moved to its first drilling location. The support vessels Zamil 52, Day Tide, and Zamil 55 are towing the rig to its drilling location to start its five-year plus two-optional-year contract with Aramco.

The Saipem-managed 12,000-ft drillship Santorini is en route to Cote d’Ivoire where it will continue operating under a contract with Eni. The drillship has recently drilled the Orion-1X exploration well for Eni in Egypt, however, preliminary results indicated no commercial hydrocarbons. Further appraisal activity depends on post-drilling analysis completion. According to the latest AIS data, the drillship is expected to arrive in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire before mid-May. The rig’s contract with Eni is firm through July 2025.

Shelf Drilling’s 300-ft jackup Main Pass I has reached Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia. In early April 2024, Shelf Drilling announced the suspension of four of their jackup working for Saudi Aramco in the Middle East. The 300-ft Main Pass I is one of four jackups recently arriving at Ras Al Khair anchorage in Saudi Arabia. Shelf Drilling also has the following rigs: the 375-ft Shelf Drilling Victory, the 350-ft Shelf Drilling Achiever, and the 300-ft Main Pass IV. The suspension of these four rigs represents 44% of its fleet with Aramco suspended. Shelf Drilling currently has five jackups working for Saudi Aramco, including the 250-ft High Island IX, the 270-ft High Island IIHigh Island IV, and High Island V, and the 300-ft Harvey H. Ward.

Valaris-owned 350-ft jackup Valaris 143 has arrived at Ras Tanura anchorage in Saudi Arabia, following the suspension of its contract with Saudi Aramco. The rig is being marketed for other opportunities outside Saudi Arabia. Aramco issued the suspension notice for the unit in early April 2024. Following this, ARO Drilling notified Aramco that it would terminate the suspended contract, seven days after the suspension date. ARO Drilling is a joint venture between Valaris and Saudi Aramco. ARO had bareboat chartered the rig for work in Saudi Arabia since 2018. With the termination of the contract, the bareboat charter is also terminated and the rig is returning to management under Valaris. Valaris is currently pursuing opportunities for the LeTourneau Super 116E EXL unit, including drilling jobs outside Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

The COSL-managed 400-ft jackup Zhenhai 6 arrived at Ras Tanura anchorage in Saudi Arabia following the suspension of its contract with Saudi Aramco. On 3 April 2024, China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL) announced the suspension of four of its jackups for a period of up to 12 months. It is understood that Zhenhai 6 is one of the four suspended rigs by Aramco. During the suspension period, COSL will proactively seek suitable market opportunities simultaneously. COSL has not disclosed the names of the other units for suspension. The drilling contractor is understood to have nine units under contract with Saudi Aramco before the suspension. ZMPC leases the unit Zhenhai 6 to COSL under a bareboat charter agreement.

TotalEnergies is moving Vantage Drilling 10,000-ft drillship Tungsten Explorer and Odfjell Drilling 10,000-ft semisubmersible Deepsea Mira from Namibia to offshore the Republic of the Congo, following the company’s recent Venus appraisal and exploration campaign in Namibia’s Orange Basin. TotalEnergies has been preparing for the drilling of an exploration well on the Marine XX licence in 2024, understood to be the Niamou-1 well. Deepsea Mira is under contract to TotalEnergies into the fourth quarter of 2024. TotalEnergies is creating a joint venture with Vantage Drilling which will see the operator own 75% of Tungsten Explorer. TotalEnergies has previously used Tungsten Explorer to drill offshore the Congo from 2016 to 2018. TotalEnergies recently acquired an additional 10% stake in the Moho licence offshore Congo and sold its 53.5% interest in Nkossa and Nsoko II licences to Trident Energy.

Advanced Drilling Services (ADES)-owned 400-ft jackup Admarine 502 is being towed to Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia. The rig completed its previous campaign with Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia in May 2024. The unit is en route to Ras Tanura anchorage, where it will stay for a few weeks. Then, the rig will be relocated to the Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard in Bahrain (ASRY), where it is expected to undergo some class recertifications and contract preparations before departing for Thailand, as it appears the 2013-built Admarine 502 is the selected rig to start the drilling campaign with PTTEP Energy Development Company Limited (PTTEP). The rig is being towed by support vessels Zamil 58, Walker Tide, and Zamil 54.

Vantage Drilling 375-ft jackup Topaz Driller has arrived in Singapore and entered the yard for what its owner has called a “significant upgrade project” ahead of a two-year contract with CPOC to begin in the third quarter of 2024. CPOC is selecting and funding the upgrades, which Vantage has stated will allow the unit to compete with high spec rigs in Southeast Asia for the next decade and beyond. CPOC will use the rig to drill in the Malaysia-Thailand joint development area in the Gulf of Thailand, and has the rig for a firm 730 days at a dayrate of $125,000 with three unpriced 90-day options available. Topaz Driller began its mobilization from West Africa to Singapore via heavy lift vessel Seaway Falcon in April 2024, following the completion of work with Foxtrot offshore Cote D’Ivoire.

The 10,000-ft semisubmersible drilling rig SSV Catarina left an anchorage in Vietnam on Wednesday and is now en route to an Eni-operated block to start drilling. According to AIS, the rig is expected to arrive at Eni’s Block 124 off Vietnam on Sunday. Once at the location, the rig will start drilling the Sáo Trúc-1X (eng. Bamboo Flute-1x) offshore oil well. The 2013-built SSV Catarina, which arrived in Vietnam late in April after an extended stay at an Indonesian anchorage, is expected to remain at Eni’s block in Vietnam until mid-July 2024. Petroserv last year sold the rig to a group of Norwegian investors, maintaining the role of commercial and operational manager of the drilling unit.

Rig Sales

Diamond Offshore has sold its 50-year-old 10,000-ft semisubmersible drilling rig, the Ocean Monarch. The rig, delivered in January 1974 and upgraded in 2008, has been sold for recycling to Best Oasis, after having been cold stacked in Malaysia since May 2022. The $7.5 million sale of the 10,000-ft drilling rig was completed in April, as confirmed by Diamond Offshore this week. The Ocean Monarch, of the ODECO Victory Class design, last worked for Posco Daewoo in Myanmar between December 2020 and March 2022. The sale completion comes almost a year after Diamond Offshore first announced it was exploring opportunities to divest the rig.

Other News

Azule Energy, a joint venture created by bp and Eni in Angola, has signed a farm-in agreement with Rhino Resources for Block 2914A (PEL85) in the offshore Namibian Orange basin. Currently, Rhino holds 85% interest in the block, together with Namcor with 10% and Korres Investments with 5% interest. After the transaction is completed, Azule will hold 42.5% interest and Rhino will hold the remaining 42.5%. The transaction is subject to approval from the Namibian authorities. The work programme consists initially of drilling two high-impact exploration wells and will be carried out by Noble’s 12,000-ft 7th generation drillship Noble Venturer. Operations are expected to start around November 2024.

Noble Corporation reported net income of $95 million for the first quarter of 2024, compared to $108 million in Q4 2023 and $150 million in the first quarter of 2023. Noble’s contract drilling services revenue for the first quarter of 2024 totaled $612 million compared to $609 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, with the sequential increase driven by utilisation. Marketed fleet utilisation was 72% for first quarter 2024, compared to 68% in the previous quarter. Noble’s backlog as of 6 May 2024 is $4.4 billion, with new contracts totaling $215 million, including mobilisation payments, since the company last reported quarterly earnings. Noble President and CEO, Robert W. Eifler, stated, “Following the short-term slow down in deepwater contracting activity during late 2023, first quarter contracting momentum for 7G rigs has been back on trend for this up-cycle, with a significant pipeline of contracts due to come to market this year for 2025 and 2026 project commencements.” Eifler added, “Offshore drilling fundamentals, especially for high-spec floaters, remain supportive of a continuing multi-year uptrend in both dayrates and average term duration, while near-term white space for lower-spec units persists as a 2024 headwind.”

China’s CNOOC said Tuesday that the “Bozhong 19-6 Gas Field 13-2 Block 5 Well Site Development Project” had started production. Located in the central Bohai Sea, offshore China, the project has an average water depth of approximately 23 metres. The main production facilities include a wellhead platform, with 10 development wells planned to be commissioned. The project is expected to achieve a peak production of approximately 5,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2026, CNOOC, the operator of the project with a 100% stake, said.

Baron Oil has been informed that its application, as a joint venture non-operating partner, in the UK’s 33rd licencing round, conducted by the UK North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), has been unsuccessful. Consequently, the company has not been awarded any blocks in the round. Dr Andy Butler, Chief Executive of Baron, commented: “We note that Baron has not been offered any blocks in the offshore UK licencing round, which, together with the previously announced relinquishment of UK licence P2478, means that the company has fully withdrawn from the UK.” Butler added that the company will now focus on its core area of SE Asia, “where we have an exciting and valuable asset in Timor-Leste.”

VAALCO Energy has acquired Svenska Petroleum, whose primary asset is a stake in the Baobab deepwater field in Block CI-40 offshore Cote d’Ivoire. With the $40.2 million acquisition of Svenska Petroleum, Vaalco became the owner of a 27.39% non-operated working interest in the producing Baobab field. The initial sale and purchase agreement was signed on 29 February 2024. As for the Baobab field, after the planned shutdown for maintenance in April, the field is back on production with a current rate in excess of 5,000 VAALCO working interest (WI) barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOEPD) (99% oil). VAALCO, which funded the purchase by cash on hand, said that the acquisition brought an estimated 1P WI CPR reserves as of 1 October 2023, of 13.0 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE) (99% oil) and total 2P WI CPR reserves at 1 October 2023, of 21.7 million MMBOE (97% oil), and that the field had a ‘significant’ upside potential. Canadian Natural Resources International (CNR) is the operator of the Baobab field, with a 57.61% interest. National oil company Petroci has a 15% interest.

Saudi Aramco reported net income of $27.3 billion for the first quarter of 2024, compared to $31.9 billion in Q1 2023. The company also achieved total hydrocarbon production of 12.4 mmboe/d during the first quarter as it moves away from a previous directive to increase its production capacity. In January 2024, the Saudi Arabian government directed Aramco to maintain its maximum sustanalble capacity (MSC) at 12.0 mmbpd. Aramco stated that this directive will have no impact on announced, near-term projects, including the Dammam development and the Marjan, Berri, and Zuluf crude oil increments. Production from these projects will be used to maintain MSC at 12.0 mmb/d. Aramco also plans to increase its gas production by more than 60% over 2021 production levels by 2030, subject to domestic demand, and to develop an integrated global LNG business. Recent developments on this front include adding significant reserves at the Jafurah field, progressing construction of gas plants at Jafurah and Tanajib, and expanding the Fadhili Gas Plant. Additionally, the company acquired a stake in MidOcean, facilitating the involvement in Australian LNG projects. Aramco did not disclose the additional rigs for these projects and said it may use some rigs it has already contracted. Currently, the operator has suspended 22 jackups (5 ADES jackups, 4 Shelf Drilling jackups, 4 COSL jackups, 3 Arabian Drilling jackups, 3 Saipem jackups, 1 ARO Drilling jackup, 1 Borr Drilling jackup, and 1 Egyptian Drilling jackup). Aramco President & CEO Amin H. Nasser said: “Our first quarter performance reflects the resilience and strength of Aramco, reinforcing our position as a leading supplier of energy to economies, to industries and to people worldwide.”

Diamond Offshore stated that repairs on 10,000-ft semisubmersible Ocean GreatWhite are progressing well and the rig is expected to be back on well location with bp in the first half of June 2024. Ocean GreatWhite moved into Kishorn port in Scotland in mid-March 2024 for repairs after an incident in which its rig’s lower marine riser package (LMRP) and deployed riser string unintentionally separated from the rig and dropped to the seabed while the unit was working for bp west of the Shetland Islands.

Offshore drilling contractor Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. reported net income of $11.6 million for the first quarter of 2024, up from a net loss of $145.7 million in fourth quarter 2023. Diamond Offshore stated that it had secured $731 million in contract awards year to date and its total backlog was $1.9 billion as of 1 April 2024. Diamond Offshore’s revenue for the first quarter of 2024 totaled $275 million, compared to $298 million in the fourth quarter of 2023. Diamond attributed the decrease in revenue quarter-over-quarter primarily to a reduction in revenue for semisub Ocean GreatWhite after an equipment incident and the 12,000-ft drillship West Auriga returning to Seadrill after the expiration of its charter. This decrease was partially offset by full quarters of revenue for the 12,000-ft drillship Ocean BlackHawk and the 10,000-ft Ocean Courage. Diamond President and CEO Bernie Wolford, Jr., stated, “The demand landscape remains compelling for our business. The high-specification deepwater rig supply-demand balance continues to tighten, which is resulting in strong contracting conditions that have already begun to benefit our fleet.”

Norwegian operator Vår Energi has agreed the sale of its Norne area assets offshore Norway to DNO Norge for a fixed after-tax consideration of $51 million, and DNO Norge will transfer to Vår Energi its stake in the Ringhorne East unit. The transaction creates a new core area for DNO as the company will hold interests in all producing and under development fields in the greater Norne area, including the Norne hub. For Vår Energi, the transaction is in line with its strategy to dispose of non-core assets to high grade the portfolio. The transaction includes an interest in four producing fields, Norne (6.9%), Skuld (11.5%), Urd (11.5%), and Marulk (20%), plus the ongoing Verdande development (10.5%). Prior to the transaction, DNO held interests in Marulk (17%), Alve (32%), and the ongoing Andvare development (32%). The transaction adds more than eight million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) in reserves and resources net to DNO. In terms of production, the transaction (net to DNO, including divestment of Ringhorne East) is estimated to add 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) to DNO’s output at closing, rising to above 5,000 boepd in 2026 as the Verdande contribution kicks in. All fields in the area are tied back to the Equinor-operated Norne FPSO that came onstream in 1997. The Norne licence has applied for a lifetime extension until 2036. The effective date of the transaction is 1 January 2024 and it is expected to close in the third quarter of 2024, subject to authorities’ approval.

Vantage Drilling has reported a net loss attributable to controlling interest of $2.9 million for Q1 2024, as compared to a net loss attributable to controlling interest of $2.3 million for Q1 2023. The company’s revenues in Q1 2024 were in line with revenues reported in the same period last year. At the end of March 2024, Vantage had approximately $67 million in cash, including $10.8 million of restricted cash, compared to $84 million in cash, including $10.8 million of restricted cash, at the end of December 2023. Also at the end of March, Vantage maintained $11.1 million of cash pre-funded by its Managed Services customers to address near-term obligations. Excluding cash used in connection with Managed Services customers, the company used $8.6 million of cash in operating activities during the first quarter of 2024.

After receiving a two-year licence extension, Kosmos Energy is continuing pre-FEED work on the Yakaar-Teranga deepwater development offshore Senegal. The company plans to farm down its working interest in Yakaar-Teranga by around 25 to 33% while retaining operatorship of the project. Kosmos Energy increased its working interest to 90% and assumed operatorship of the Yakaar-Teranga gas discoveries offshore Senega in November 2023, following bp’s exit from the field. According to Kosmos, Yakaar-Teranga holds around 25 trillion cubic feet of advantaged gas in place. Kosmos has been collaborating with Senegal’s national oil company PETROSEN on pre-FEED work for the development, prioritizing natural gas for the Senegalese economy and an offshore LNG facility targeting international exports.

Japanese oil and gas company INPEX has signed an agreement with compatriot power generation giant JERA to study the feasibility of establishing a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) value chain involving the capture of CO2 in Japan and its transportation to Australia for storage. In 2022, INPEX was awarded a greenhouse gas storage assessment permit in the Bonaparte Basin off the northwestern coast of the Northern Territory of Australia with TotalEnergies CCS Australia Pty Ltd and Woodside Energy. According to Inpex, this project provides an opportunity to prove up a large-scale carbon storage site for the Darwin-based, carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) Hub proposed by the Northern Territory Government and has the potential to become one of the largest CCS projects in the world. INPEX also said that the Ichthys LNG project it operates in Australia would be a natural user of this CCS solution as it seeks to reduce its GHG emissions. JERA, Japan’s largest power generation company, has been considering the feasibility of capturing carbon from its domestic business and transporting CO2 for storage outside Japan, where reservoirs with potentially large storage volumes are expected to be found. Separately, the Australian Federal Government, which on Thursday launched the Future Gas Strategy that envisions gas as an important source of energy to 2050 and beyond, and as a means to supporting the country’s transition to net zero, also unveiled decarbonization action plans. While calling for increased investments in gas exploration and production to meet local demand and that of its international buyers, the government also said it would continue to release acreage for offshore greenhouse gas storage, work with regulators and industry to reduce and, where possible, eliminate gas venting and flaring, and establish a new Transboundary Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Program which will provide options for energy security and carbon management solutions for its regional partners.

Image credit: Seadrill

Close Menu

Soerkedalsveien 6
0369 Oslo

T: +47 23 00 10 00