Bullish Maersk Oil orders two new drilling rigs

Samsung Heavy Industries seals deal to build two ultra deepwater rigs

Maersk Oil has ordered two new ultra deepwater drilling rigs to be constructed in South Korea.
Maersk Oil has ordered two new ultra deepwater drilling rigs to be constructed in South Korea.

Maersk Drilling has signed a contract with Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea for the construction of two ultra deepwater drillships. The drillships are scheduled for delivery in the third and fourth quarters of 2013, respectively. The total project cost for the two drillships is close to US$1.3 billion. This includes a turnkey contract with the yard, owner furnished equipment, project management, commissioning, start-up costs and capitalized interest. The contract includes an option for the construction of two additional drillships.

“We see an increasing share of the global oil and gas production coming from deepwater, and this trend will drive a solid growth in the demand for ultra deepwater drilling services in areas such as Brazil, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico,” says Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Drilling and member of the Executive Board of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group.

“This will be the first drillships in Maersk Drilling's ultra deepwater fleet. They will complement our existing three deepwater semi-submersibles and they will add a new important aspect in our offering to our customers in the ultra deepwater market," Claus V. Hemmingsen continues.

The 228 meter long drill ships will be able to operate at water depths up to 12,000 ft (3,650 m) and will be capable of drilling wells of more than 40,000 ft (12,200 m). With its advanced positioning control system (Dynamic Positioning System) the ships will automatically maintain a fixed position in severe weather conditions with waves up to 11 meters and wind speeds up to 26 meters per second.

Similar to the design philosophy on Maersk Drilling’s ultra deepwater semi-submersibles the drillship design includes features for high efficiency operation including a dual derrick, which allows for parallel and offline activities. The extensive storage areas and tank capacities provide an advantage when operating in areas with less developed infrastructure and limited presence of suppliers. Together with the higher transit speed the increased capacity will reduce the overall logistics costs for the oil companies. The drillships will have accommodation capacity for 230 people.

“This order follows our recent order for two highly advanced ultra harsh environment jack-up rigs placed in February and implements our strategy of growing our business within the most attractive market segments; ultra deepwater floaters and high specification jack-up rigs,” Claus V. Hemmingsen concludes.

In addition to the two drillships and two jack-up rigs just ordered, the modern fleet counts 26 drilling rigs including deepwater semi-submersibles, high-end jack-up rigs and cantilevered drilling barges. Maersk Drilling was established in 1972 and employs an international staff of 3,200 people.

Maersk Drilling’s fleet already include three ultra deepwater semi-submersibles working in Australia, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico.



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