Category Archives: ENSCO

ENSCO Orders Drillship with Retractable Thrusters!?


By Rob Almeida On April 6, 2012

At first it looked like just another drillship order.

Samsung Heavy wins a $645 million order to build a DP3 drillship for ENSCO, however buried in the middle of the press release read:

New features on ENSCO DS-8 include retractable thrusters, enhanced safety and environmental features…

Wait…Retractable thrusters?!

I talked to ENSCO yesterday and they noted that this new feature was a Rolls-Royce design, and that by retracting the forward thrusters, it increased the efficiency of the vessel while in transit while also reducing the overall maintenance burden.

Most importantly however, this new feature will help to reduce down time.  At an average day rate of over a $500 thousand per day, any investment that can keep these rigs up and working longer is money well spent by the contractor and anyone who’s ever had to switch out a thruster knows that it’s not a snap of the fingers… it takes many costly hours and is, to be quite frank, a pain in the ass.

Besides having retractable thrusters, the ENSCO DS-8  has other unique features such as below-main-deck riser storage, triple fluid systems, offline conditioning capability and enhanced client and third-party facilities.

Storing upwards of 12,000 feet of 21″ heavy gauge steel riser on deck presents a significant vessel stability issue, not to mention all the associated drill pipe and casing.  Considering this rig may very well be destined for the arctic and the associated surface area of this pipe, this stability issue could be compounded significantly under ice-loading conditions.  Under these circumstances, storing the riser in a cargo hold below the main deck, is likely a smart move.

Consistent with the previous five Samsung ultra-deepwater drillships ordered since 2007, this new drillship is based on the proprietary Samsung GF12000 hull design measuring 755 feet in length and 125 feet in width. It will offer a payload in excess of 22,000 metric tons and a 1,250-ton hoisting system. The rig’s design and capabilities include numerous features that increase operating efficiency. Primary to these capabilities are enhanced and redundant offline tubular stand-building features and a 165-ton active heave compensating construction crane, allowing for the deployment of subsea production equipment without interference with ongoing drilling operations.

The rig, which will be initially outfitted for drilling in water depths of up to 10,000 feet, will be equipped with dynamic positioning in compliance with DPS-3 certification; six-5.5 megawatt thrusters for enhanced station-keeping; expanded drilling fluids capacity; a 15,000-psi subsea well control system with six rams, upgradable to seven rams and/or a second BOP stack; burner boom for well testing; and living quarters for up to 200 personnel.will be built to meet the demands of ultra-deepwater drilling in water depths of up to 12,000 feet and a total vertical drilling depth of 40,000 feet.

Ensco Chairman, President and CEO Dan Rabun said:

An ongoing trend of new deepwater oil and gas discoveries around the globe is creating a high demand for equipment capable of tapping those resources. Our track record of leading safety and deepwater performance increasingly makes us the driller of choice for operators working in complex offshore fields. Our high-grading strategy will ensure that we continue to be equipped to respond to rising customer demand.” The latest EnergyPoint industry survey rates Ensco first in total customer satisfaction among offshore drillers overall and specifically in safety, health and environment performance as well as in deepwater drilling.

This addition to our fleet is in keeping with our strategy of standardization, which streamlines construction, operations, inventory management, training, regulatory compliance, repairs and maintenance,” Mr. Rabun pointed out. “We are very pleased to continue our successful newbuild drillship program with Samsung.

This vessel will be the sixth Samsung DP3 drillship in the Ensco fleet, extending the benefits of Ensco’s fleet standardization strategy. The contract also includes options for two additional drillships of the same design and is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2014.

Ensco’s three active DP3 drillships are currently contracted into 2016 in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West Africa. A fourth, ENSCO DS-6, is undergoing pre-commissioning modifications in preparation for its first well assignment under a five-year contract with BP. ENSCO DS-7 is scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2013.


Ensco in $645m drillship buy


Bill Lehane ,
05 April 2012 14:06 GMT

New York-listed Ensco has ordered another ultra-deepwater drillship from Samsung Heavy Industries at an estimated cost of $645 million, just days after inking a long-term deal with BP for another rig in the series.

The Ensco DS-8 will be the sixth Samsung DP3 drillship in the offshore driller’s fleet when it arrives in the third quarter of 2014.

Ensco has also secured an option to acquire a further two of the vessels.

The fifth rig, Ensco DS-7, is currently being built in South Korea with delivery slated for the second half of this year.

On Monday, BP hired the fourth drillship, the Ensco DS-6, on a five-year deal that will ultimately garner Ensco $1 billion at a dayrate of around $522,000.

Ensco said the latest order came in response to “the high level of customer demand driven by an ongoing trend of successful offshore discoveries”.

Like the previous five ordered since 2007, the new drillship will be equipped for ultra-deepwater drilling in water depths of up to 10,000 feet, extendable to 12,000, and a total vertical drilling depth of 40,000 feet.

Ensco’s three active DP3 drillships are currently contracted into 2016 in the US Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West Africa.


UK: Ensco Ranks 1st Among Offshore Drillers by Costumer Satisfaction


Ensco plc once again received the first place ranking for total customer satisfaction among offshore drillers in the 2011 Oilfield Products & Services Customer Satisfaction Survey. Conducted by EnergyPoint Research, the annual survey is the industry benchmark for customer satisfaction in the global oilfield.

Ensco led all offshore drilling contractors in the survey, also receiving top honors in 12 of 16 additional categories including health, safety and environment; job quality; performance and reliability; technology; special drilling applications; non-vertical wells and shelf wells. Ensco also earned the top ranking among deepwater drillers and the top ranking by independent operators, and was rated first internationally, with top scores in both offshore Latin America/Mexico and in the North Sea.

Ensco Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Rabun stated, “Our people around the globe work safely to exceed customer expectations every day. This recognition is a testament to every Ensco employee’s commitment to that goal. When we operate safely and efficiently, we create success for everyone involved – customers, employees and shareholders.

“We realize that today’s drilling environment is more complex,” he added. “The technological challenges are higher, there is greater public scrutiny, and customers are counting on us more than ever to deliver operational excellence. In this environment, being recognized for success takes on even more meaning.”

EnergyPoint’s research showed a rise in overall customer satisfaction across all industry segments, with the largest increases in onshore and offshore drilling contractor scores.

The independent survey was conducted as part of EnergyPoint Research’s 2011 industry-wide Oilfield Products & Services Survey, comprising thousands of in-depth evaluations performed over a 24-month period by qualified professionals at domestic and international customers of oilfield suppliers.


USA: Anadarko Contracts ENSCO 8506 Semi


Ensco plc has entered into a contract for ENSCO 8506 semisubmersible drilling rig with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. The initial contract term is for two and one-half years in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico at a day rate of $530,000, plus cost adjustments. The contract adds more than $480 million to revenue backlog.

Delivery of ENSCO 8506 from Keppel FELS Limited shipyard in Singapore is scheduled for third quarter 2012 followed by contract commencement in fourth quarter 2012 once mobilization, sea trials and acceptance testing have been completed.

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Rabun was pleased with the contract, “We are very pleased that Anadarko has chosen to contract a third ENSCO 8500 Series® rig for its drilling programs. Anadarko was an early advocate of the ENSCO 8500 Series® design and contracted ENSCO 8500 back in 2005.”

ENSCO 8500 commenced operations in 2009, and soon thereafter, drilled Anadarko’s major Lucius Discovery in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. In October 2011, Anadarko contracted ENSCO 8505 as part of a rig sharing agreement with Apache and Noble Energy. ENSCO 8505 is scheduled to commence operations in the second quarter of this year.

Last of seven

ENSCO 8506 is the final of seven rigs in the ENSCO 8500 Series®. For the first three quarters of 2011, these rigs that have operated in Asia, North America and South America achieved 97% utilization. Ensco is ranked #1 in overall customer satisfaction and #1 in deepwater drilling by EnergyPoint, an independent survey firm.

The proprietary design of the ENSCO 8500 includes a 35,000’ nominal rated drilling depth, 2 million pounds of hoisting capacity, 8,000 tons of variable deck load and an open layout well suited for subsea completion activities. Improved visibility from the open deck configuration also enhances safety.



USA: Anadarko, Apache and Noble Energy Hire ENSCO 8505 Rig


Ensco plc announced today that it has entered into a shared drilling contract for ENSCO 8505 with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Apache Deepwater LLC and Noble Energy Inc. The initial contract term is for two years or two rotations per operator, whichever is longer, in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico at a day rate of $475,000, plus cost adjustments. The contract adds approximately $350 million to revenue backlog. Two one-year options are at mutually agreed rates.

“We are very pleased that Anadarko and Noble have chosen to contract a second ENSCO 8500 Series® rig for their drilling programs. Apache has been a long-term customer of our jackup fleet and we welcome the opportunity to expand our relationship with them in the ultra-deepwater market.”

Delivery of ENSCO 8505 from the Keppel FELS Limited shipyard in Singapore is scheduled for first quarter 2012 followed by contract commencement in second quarter 2012 once mobilization, sea trials and acceptance testing have been completed.

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Rabun commented, “We are very pleased that Anadarko and Noble have chosen to contract a second ENSCO 8500 Series® rig for their drilling programs. Apache has been a long-term customer of our jackup fleet and we welcome the opportunity to expand our relationship with them in the ultra-deepwater market.

“Our employees who have served these customers in the past are to be commended for delivering exceptional safety and operating performance – giving us the opportunity to earn a new, multi-year contract.”

ENSCO 8505 is the sixth of seven rigs in the ENSCO 8500 Series®. In second quarter 2011, these rigs that operate in South America, Asia and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico had virtually no downtime and achieved 99% utilization. Ensco is ranked #1 in overall customer satisfaction and #1 in deepwater drilling by EnergyPoint, an independent survey firm.

The proprietary design of the ENSCO 8500 Series® rigs was developed with extensive input from customers to address the drilling requirements for virtually every deepwater field around the world. The design includes a 35,000’ nominal rated drilling depth, two million pounds of hoisting capacity, 8,000 tons of variable deck load and an open layout well suited for subsea completion activities. Improved visibility from the open deck configuration also enhances safety.

The uniform design of the ENSCO 8500 Series® streamlines construction, operations, inventory management, training, regulatory compliance, repairs and maintenance. It also provides flexibility for customer specific enhancements; in particular, the 8500 Series may be modified to drill and complete wells in water depths up to 10,000’.

ENSCO 8506, the final rig in the ENSCO 8500 Series®, is currently under construction in Singapore with delivery scheduled for the second half of 2012.


History of ENSCO


Founding the Company in 1975

ENSCO was incorporated in 1975 as Blocker Energy Corporation by longtime oilman John R. Blocker. After graduating from Texas A&M in 1948 he worked on a Gulf of Mexico oil rig for several years before establishing a South Texas drilling company with his father in 1954. When an oversupply of oil on the market crippled the contract drilling business the company was dissolved, and in 1958 Blocker went to work for Dresser Industries as operations manager for the oil equipment division in Argentina and Venezuela, a natural fit because he had grown up in South America, learning Spanish before English. Over the next several years he learned the political and financial realities of the foreign oil business, lessons that would later serve him well with Blocker Energy. In 1965 he moved to Dresser’s Houston office and ultimately rose to the level of a senior vice-president. When he left Dresser in the mid-1970s Blocker bought a small drilling company that became the core of Blocker Energy, a venture he planned to run with his son along with a ranch he purchased. His attention, however, was soon fixed on the drilling company, due to a domestic exploration boom that resulted from the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo. In recent years the major oil companies had sold off their drilling operations and were now forced to turn to contract drillers like Blocker Energy. Blocker took advantage of his South American experience to position the company in the international market, believing it was less risky than the domestic market, where he would have to contend with some 800 to 900 competitors. Not only were there only a handful of international competitors, Blocker hoped to shield his company from the volatility of the oil business, notorious for boom-or-bust cycles, by placing his drilling rigs around the globe. Blocker Energy expanded rapidly to meet the demand for its services and as a result soon found itself $44 million in debt. Blocker took the company public to pay down some of the debt and fund further expansion. By the early 1980s Blocker Energy was the world’s 15th largest contract drilling company, operating in eight countries with 54 rigs. Starting in late 1978 Blocker Energy made a major commitment to exploration by investing more than $50 million. Committing further millions to the effort, however, did little more than to distract the company from its core contract drilling business. The company restructured itself in the early 1980s but was devastated by a slump in oil drilling that put it on the verge of bankruptcy by the summer of 1984.

Richard Rainwater‘s Investment in 1986

After Blocker Energy lost nearly $3 million in 1985, it found much needed help from multimillionaire Richard Rainwater, whose BEC Ventures made an initial investment in the company in 1986. He then commenced negotiations with Blocker Energy and its creditors to acquire a controlling interest in the company. Rainwater would one day become known for his relationship with George W. Bush and their ownership of the Texas Rangers, which provided the latter with his fortune and the political platform for his successful election as governor of Texas and one day the presidency of the United States. At the time he was buying into Blocker Energy, Rainwater was already well known in financial circles as the financial advisor to the wealthy Bass brothers, heirs to a Fort Worth, Texas, oil fortune. Rainwater himself had grown up in more modest circumstances in Fort Worth. After majoring in math and physics at the University of Texas he went on to the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, where he became friends with Sid R. Bass. Rainwater served two years at Goldman, Sachs, & Co. as a trader, and then in 1970 went to work for the Basses as a financial advisor. Over the next 16 years his advice proved so beneficial that the Basses’ net worth increased from $50 million to more than $5 billion. In particular, Rainwater was responsible for the Basses buying into Disney before its dramatic increase in value. Rainwater also did well for himself, so that by the time he decided to strike out on his own he had accumulated a $100 million stake. Blocker Energy was his first solo deal, followed by a string of other investments that would result in making him a billionaire.

In December 1986 Rainwater-led BEC Ventures acquired a controlling interest in Blocker Energy. In May 1987 John Blocker stepped down as chief executive officer, although he remained chairman until his retirement in November of that year. He was replaced as CEO by Carl F. Thorne, a partner in BEC Ventures. He grew up in the oil industry, born in Texas, the son of an electrical engineer who worked for Mobil Oil Corp. for 46 years, and was raised in a Mobil field camp. After receiving a degree in petroleum engineering at the University of Texas, Thorne worked briefly as a drilling and production engineer for Tenneco Inc. before continuing his education at Baylor University School of Law, earning a juris doctor degree. He returned to the oil business, serving as assistant general counsel for Sedco Drilling Co., eventually becoming president of the company. When Sedco merged with Schlumberger in 1984, Thorne became president of the resulting drilling group. Two years later, and only in his mid-40s, Thorne retired, but soon decided to join Rainwater, taking over the running of Blocker Energy, which subsequent to the acquisition by BEC changed its name to Energy Service Company Inc., its abbreviation becoming ENSCO. The company assumed the name ENSCO International Incorporated in 1992.

ENSCO, well positioned because it possessed little debt, immediately announced plans to expand its presence in the oil drilling industry, which appeared ready to rebound after one of the worst down cycles in U.S. history. It attempted to acquire Anson Drilling Co. as well as Gearhart Industries but failed. ENSCO was more successful, however, in the transportation area, in 1988 paying $22 million to acquire Golden Gulf Offshore Inc. for ten boats that supplied offshore oil rigs and another four vessels that moved the rigs’ massive anchors. Finally in 1993 ENSCO completed a major acquisition, buying Penrod Holding Corporation in 1993 and adding 19 rigs to its fleet. Penrod was owned by the Hunt family, which during the 1980s had invested heavily in the fleet, but massive debt, a downturn in drilling activity, as well as an ill-fated attempt at silver speculation, forced the Hunts to seek bankruptcy protection for Penrod and eventually led to the business being sold to ENSCO.

ENSCO began to withdraw from secondary endeavors to focus solely on offshore drilling rigs. In 1993 the company sold its supply business, and then in 1994 and 1996 sold off its land-based drilling rigs. ENSCO’s technical services business was divested in 1995. Anticipating increased demand for premium jackup rigs, ENSCO initiated a rig enhancement program in 1994. It also kept an eye out for attractively priced rigs that became available from other drilling companies. Rigs were purchased from J. Lauritzen in 1994, Transocean in 1995, and Smedvig in 1997. A much larger transaction took place in 1996 when ENSCO acquired Dual Drilling Company in 1996 from Mosvold Shipping A.S. of Norway, adding 15 rigs and other holdings in a stock swap transaction valued at approximately $200 million. The company now consisted of 52 drilling rigs, divided among four subsidiaries operating in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean, and Asia. In addition, ENSCO boasted a large fleet of support vessels, including tug, supply, and anchor hauling ships. The company changed the composition of its rig fleet somewhat in 1998 when it sold off four Venezuelan barge rigs.

Business Dropping Off in 1999

At the end of 1998 ENSCO had posted five consecutive years of improved earnings. The company produced record revenues of $813.2 million in 1998 and net income of $253.9 million. The following year, however, proved difficult. Economic troubles in Asia, a drop in oil prices, and cutbacks in exploration activities combined to create a major reduction in the demand for contract drilling rigs. But ENSCO, which had always taken a conservative approach to doing business, was well positioned to wait out the downturn. Although it had long-term debt of $375 million it also had $330 million in cash at the end of 1998. Management cut operating costs and essentially broke even in 1999. Matters improved significantly in 2000, when ENSCO earned $85.4 million on revenues of $533.8 million.

Even as it was retrenching during a down cycle, ENSCO was making plans for the future, becoming increasingly more committed to deep water operations, in keeping with an oil industry trend. In a 1999 interview with Oil & Gas Investor, Thorne explained: “The industry’s movement into the deep water is an evolution, not a revolution. In the continuous search for hydrocarbons, we’ve evolved from land drilling to offshore shallowwater drilling, to drilling on the continental shelf and beyond. At the same time, the cost structure of many companies has become such that they now have to look for the bigger elephants in deeper water, where their unit finding and lifting costs are much less. If one accepts that we’ve got to bring on large volumes of hydrocarbons to meet rising demand, then the deep water is going to play an increasingly important role.”

To support deepwater development efforts, ENSCO upgraded platform rigs acquired from Dual. All told, in the late 1990s the company invested some $500 million in rig upgrades. Moreover, it invested in the construction of a deepwater semisubmersible rig, able to drill in water depths of 8,000 feet. It was the first deepwater drilling unit ever built in the United States, a project that was completed on time and within budget. In December 2000 the rig went into service in the Gulf of Mexico. ENSCO also invested in harsh environment jackup rigs, completing the construction of a unit in 2000. It built a second harsh environment rig in partnership with Keppel FELS Limited, holding an option to purchase a 100 percent interest. In light of the company’s shifting priorities in the composition of its rig fleet, ENSCO elected in 2001 to remove four less competitive rigs from operation. Two of its platform rigs were retired and two barge rigs were put up for sale.

Financial results continued to improve in 2001, with revenues growing to $817.4 million and net income soaring to $207.3 million. ENSCO added to its fleet in 2002 when it acquired Chiles Offshore Inc., paying $578 million in stock and cash, and the assumption of $140 million in debt. It was a deal that made sense for both parties. ENSCO picked up the kind of state-of-the-art jackup rigs it preferred, and in the process stifled some Wall Street critics who expressed concern that the company had not been as aggressive as its competition in making acquisitions. Chiles was simply too small to compete in the current marketplace, and as part of the deal its president and CEO, William E. Chiles, secured an executive position with ENSCO. In addition, the sale to ENSCO was profitable for Chiles’s shareholders, who received close to a 20 percent premium, based on the price at which Chiles was trading before the transaction was announced.

ENSCO’s balance sheet suffered somewhat in 2002, due to a weakened demand for drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and a resulting drop in day rates. For the year, the company generated revenues of $698.1 million and net income of $59.3 million. Early in 2003 management announced that it was selling its 27-vessel fleet of support ships located in the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans-based Tidewater Inc., owner and operator of more than 550 vessels used to support offshore drilling. Although the subsidiary, ENSCO Marine Company, was a profitable venture, it would require a significant investment to keep the business viable. Instead ENSCO elected to make an even greater financial commitment to its offshore rig fleet.


ENSCO orders seventh ultra deepwater semi at Keppel FELS


August 12, 2008

ENSCO orders seventh ultra deepwater semi at Keppel FELS

Dallas headquartered ENSCO International Inc, (NYSE: ESV) has finalized a construction contract with Singapore’s Keppel FELS Limited for the seventh ENSCO 8500 Series ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rig.

To be named ENSCO 8506, the rig’s total project cost is currently projected to be $560 million. Delivery is expected in the second half of 2012. The contract follows shortly after the award of the sixth semi, ENSCO 8505, announced on June 1, 2008.

ENSCO 8506 will be part of the company’s eight-rig deepwater fleet that includes the ENSCO 7500 deepwater semisubmersible that has been in service since 2000. The first four of the ENSCO 8500 Series rigs to be delivered are contracted to customers for term work commencing upon delivery, and marketing of the three latest ENSCO 8500 Series rigs already is underway.

The first of the seven 8500 Series semis was contracted at Keppel FELS in 2005 and is on track for shipyard delivery in the third quarter of this year. It has been chartered to Anadarko and Eni for operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The ENSCO 8500 Series semisubmersibles are based upon an ENSCO proprietary design. Features include a two million pound quad derrick, offline pipe handling capability, automatic station keeping ability to DP2, and 150-man living quarters. The 8500 Series rigs will be capable of drilling in up to 8,500 feet of water. With these capabilities and features, the rigs will be especially well-suited for deepwater development drilling.

Daniel W. Rabun, ENSCO’s Chairman, President and CEO, commented: “We continue to execute on our strategy to expand our deepwater presence, and again look forward to working with Keppel FELS on this important project. Our $3.1 billion investment in the ENSCO 8500 Series) rigs demonstrates our commitment to playing a meaningful role in the growing deepwater market. With our current seven rig newbuild program, no other company will have a larger ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rig fleet.”

Keppel FELS Limited (Keppel FELS) has won the contract to build the seventh ENSCO 8500 Series¨ deepwater semisubmersible (semi) worth US$560 million. This sum includes equipment specified by the owner.

Mr Choo Chiau Beng, Chairman and CEO of Keppel O&M said, “This contract to build the seventh semi for ENSCO is a vote of confidence from a top-notch drilling contractor for our reliability as a partner of choice. We remain committed to giving ENSCO our full support and contributing to the growth of their high quality deepwater fleet.”


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