D&C News

BP makes 15th discovery in ultra-deepwater Angola block

Sonangol and BP have announced the Portia oil discovery in ultra-deepwater Block 31, offshore Angola. Portia is the 15th discovery that BP has drilled in Block 31. The well is approximately 7 km north of the Titania discovery. Portia was drilled in a water depth of 2,012 m, some 386 km northwest of Luanda, and reached 5,678 m TVD below sea level. This is the fourth discovery in Block 31 where the exploration well has been drilled through salt to access the oil-bearing sandstone reservoir beneath. Well test results confirmed the capacity of the reservoir to flow in excess of 5,000 bbl/day.

Pride drillships awarded contracts by BP, Petrobras

Pride International has announced two multi-year contracts for two ultra-deepwater drillships. First, a five-year contract with a BP subsidiary will allow Pride to expand its deepwater drilling operations and geographic reach in deepwater drilling basins to the US Gulf of Mexico. The contract is for a ultra-deepwater drillship under construction at the Samsung shipyard in South Korea. Scheduled for delivery during Q1 2010, the rig will be capable of drilling in water depths up to 12,000 ft (equipped for 10,000 feet) and drilling to a total vertical depth of up to 40,000 ft.

The second contract is with a Petrobras subsidiary, for the construction and operation of an advanced-capability, ultra-deepwater drillship in support of Petrobras’ international exploration and development drilling projects. The rig, to be constructed at the Samsung shipyard,  is expected to be delivered in Q1 2011. The contract allows Petrobras to elect, by 31 January 2010, a firm contract term of at least five years and up to seven years.

Separately, Pride has announced contract extensions from Petrobras for deepwater semis Pride Rio de Janeiro and Pride Portland. The extensions, representing six years per rig, are expected to commence during late 2010 to early 2011, in direct continuation of each rig’s current contract commitment and a scheduled shipyard program. The rigs have operated offshore Brazil for Petrobras since entering service in 2004.

Rowan jackup moving to Middle East to drill offshore Saudi Arabia

Rowan Companies’ Bob Keller jackup has been awarded a three-year drilling contract, which includes an option for a fourth year, for work offshore Saudi Arabia. The Bob Keller recently concluded work in the Gulf of Mexico and is en route to the Middle East. It is expected to commence drilling operations during Q2 2008. Rowan re-entered the Middle East market two years ago after a 25-year absence. This contract expands its presence in the area to nine jackups.

Rowan also has announced a multi-well contract with McMoRan Oil & Gas Corp that includes re-entering the Blackbeard Prospect. The Gorilla IV has been committed for a minimum of 90 days, and work on Blackbeard is priced at a dayrate in the mid-$190s. The initial Blackbeard well was drilled to a depth of just over 30,000 ft during 2005-06 by Rowan’s first Tarzan Class jackup, the Scooter Yeargain.

Additionally, Rowan’s Super Gorilla class jackup, the Bob Palmer, is undergoing final preparations for its initial assignment on BP’s Eldorado Prospect. The rig will drill one or more wells targeting a depth of at least 28,000 ft.

StatoilHydro to drill first offshore prospect as operator in Canada

StatoilHydro will drill its first offshore prospect as operator in Canada in Q4 2008, at the Mizzen prospect off the east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Husky Energy will participate in the exploration well. A rig-sharing contract with Petro-Canada and Husky will allow StatoilHydro to bring in Transocean’s Henry Goodrich rig for the operation. It is expected to arrive in Newfoundland this summer. The Mizzen prospect is located in block EL 1049 in the Flemish Pass Basin offshore Newfoundland and Labrador in 1,100 m water depth.

H&P to build 11 more FlexRigs to work in US, Latin America

Helmerich & Payne will construct 11 additional FlexRigs to operate under long-term contracts. Four are scheduled to operate in the US and seven more in Latin American locations.

The four to operate in the US are scheduled to be deployed in the Barnett Shale during 2008. Two will work for Quicksilver Resources and two for Carrizo Oil & Gas. The other seven are scheduled to be completed and mobilized at the rate of one per month beginning in fiscal Q4 2008. Five are expected to operate under five-year term contracts and the remaining two under three-year term contracts. The name of the customer was not disclosed.

FlexRigs are expected to represent almost 70% of the company’s global land fleet by the end of calendar 2008.

1st of 4 high-efficiency Maersk jackups delivered

Keppel FELS has completed the Maersk Resilient, the first of four identical jackups for Maersk Contractors. The MSC CJ 50 design rig is capable of operating in water depths up to 350 ft and is designed to be 20% more efficient than conventional jackups.

“High efficiency and safety have been the key drivers in the design of these new rigs, and we look forward to proving their qualities in operation,” said Maersk Contractors CEO Claus V Hemmingsen. “The delivery of this new design cements our position as a leader within advanced jackup rigs.”

The rig’s first assignment is a three-year contract with Dubai Petroleum Establishment in the Persian Gulf.

Usan field offshore Nigeria to be developed

Chevron Nigeria Deepwater and its co-venturers are moving forward to develop the offshore Usan field in Nigeria, expected to “generate significant new production from West Africa’s deep water,” said Ali Moshiri, president, Chevron Africa and Latin America E&P. Discovered in 2002, the Usan Field is located at a water depth of 2,461 ft (750 m), approximately 62 miles (100 km) off the coast in the eastern Niger Delta. First production is expected in late 2011, with peak production of 180,000 bbl/day. Chevron’s co-venturers are Elf Petroleum Nigeria, Esso E&P Nigeria and Nexen Petroleum Nigeria.

PetroVietnam orders new jackup from Keppel FELS

Keppel FELS will build a third KFELS B Class jackup for PetroVietnam Drilling Investment (PVD Invest), a subsidiary of PetroVietnam Drilling & Well Services (PV Drilling). PVD Invest’s second rig, PV Drilling II, is already under construction at Keppel FELS. Both the second and third rigs are scheduled for delivery in Q4 2009.

“It is estimated that there will be some 900 exploration wells in Vietnam over the next 15 years. We want to position ourselves to capture this market,” said Do Van Khanh, CEO of PV Drilling and chairman of PVD Invest.

ENSCO enters letter of intent for new semisubmersible in ENSCO 8500 Series

ENSCO International has entered a letter of intent for a contract for ENSCO 8503, an ultra-deepwater semi under construction. The contemplated contract will be for a two-year term, with an option for extension. The aggregate dayrate revenue for the two-year term is expected to be approximately $372 million. The base operating rate is $510,000/day, and the dayrate will be subject to adjustment for variances in operating costs from current levels.
ENSCO 8503 is the company’s fourth ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rig in the ENSCO 8500 Series under construction and will increase its deepwater fleet to five rigs, inclusive of the ENSCO 7500 deepwater semi. All four of the 8500 Series rigs are under construction at the Keppel FELS shipyard in Singapore. Delivery for the ENSCO 8503 is expected in Q3 2010. The 8500 Series rigs will be capable of drilling in up to 8,500 ft of water, and can be upgraded to 10,000 ft.

Transocean announces contract extensions

Transocean has announced a three-year contract extension for the ultra-deepwater drillship Deepwater Millennium from Anadarko Petroleum, commencing in June 2010. The rig is one of 34 high-specification floaters in the Transocean fleet, 13 of which are ultra-deepwater floaters. It is capable of operating in water depths up to 10,000 ft.

Separately, Transocean has announced the award of a 689-day contract by a consortium headed by Marathon International Petroleum Indonesia. Under the contract, the ultra-deepwater drillship GSF Explorer will drill a series of exploration wells in a deepwater province in Indonesia. The rig was constructed in 1972 and upgraded in 1998 and is capable of working in water depths up to 7,800 ft. The contract is expected to commence in Q4 2009.

Additionally, Transocean has agreed to sell three of its US Gulf of Mexico jackup rigs and related equipment for $320 million to Hercules Offshore. The sales of the GSF Adriatic III, GSF High Island I and GSF High Island VIII will mark Transocean’s exit from the shallow-water area of the US GOM.

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