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Gulf of Mexico: Cobalt Hires Rowan’s New Ultra-Deepwater Drillship

Rowan Companies plc announced today that one of its subsidiaries has entered into a three-year contract with Cobalt International Energy, L.P. for the Rowan Reliance, one of Rowan’s new ultra-deepwater drillships currently under construction at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (“HHI”) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea. The drillship is expected to operate in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The Rowan Reliance is expected to be delivered from HHI at the end of October 2014. The contract is expected to commence late January 2015 following mobilization. The effective day rate for the work will be $602,000, including mobilization revenues, and adds $660 million in revenue backlog.

Matt Ralls, Rowan’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are very pleased to enter into this relationship with Cobalt. They have a very exciting growth story with a strong track record in ultra-deepwater exploration. We will complement their growth potential through our expansion into the ultra-deepwater drilling segment with the most advanced drillships in the industry. We are proud to have this opportunity to be part of the future success of this exciting company.”

The Rowan Reliance is one of four ultra-deepwater drillships being constructed for Rowan by HHI. All four drillships are based on a GustoMSC P10,000 hull design, capable of drilling wells to depths of 40,000 feet in water depths up to 12,000 feet. The DP-3 compliant, dynamically positioned drillship will be equipped with retractable thrusters, two readily deployable seven-ram BOP systems, five mud pumps, dual mud systems and a maximum hookload capacity of 1,250 tons.

With the award of this contract for the Rowan Reliance, three of the Company’s four ultra-deepwater drillships under construction at HHI are now under contract. The fourth remaining uncontracted drillship, the Rowan Relentless, is scheduled to be delivered from the shipyard at the end of March 2015.

Rowan, August 6, 2013

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OVERDRILL: The Next Generation of Drillship from Fincantieri

Fincantieri, one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world, is showing its strong commitment in the offshore market, not only through its new subsidiary VARD (previously known as STX OSV), but also by providing the market with the next generation of drillship: the “OVERDRILL design” which will put the drilling contractors in condition to drill to an overall max depth of 50.000ft.

The OVERDRILL design, which has been developed by Fincantieri in cooperation with Aker Solutions, incorporates perfectly Fincantieri Offshore’s mission to offer vessels born and designed around the drilling system, maximizing its integration with the hull. Aker Solutions has supported the development of the new Fincantieri Offshore’s design based on its experience as a supplier of high quality drilling equipment and services.

Compared to other ships of this category, the ones of OVERDRILL design will also feature an increased variable deck load capacity despite reduced overall dimensions. This represent an opportunity for the drilling contractors to evolve their current fleet with a new class of vessels, featuring a higher level of performance and efficiency at the same time, which can be further adapted to their specific requirements and operational attitudes.

The number of offshore wells currently account for about 15% of the global total. Although offshore drilling activities have been successfully going on for several decades, the current phase, with its move into ultra-deep waters, might be the start of a new era.

Commenting on the new design Mr. Giuseppe Coronella, EVP of Fincantieri Offshore, said: “The offshore drilling market is driven, on the one hand, by demand for traditional standard systems and, on the other, by ultra-deepwater exploration demanding innovative solutions. With support from Aker Solutions, Fincantieri has produced a rig design that provides solutions to both these needs”.

Mr. Thor Arne Håverstad, Head of drilling technologies at Aker Solutions, said: “Fincantieri Offshore’s expertise in vessel design combined with Aker Solutions’ knowledge of drilling technologies created a very powerful partnership, which made it possible to create the OVERDRILL design.

The drilling package is designed to meet new requirement related to water depth and drilling length with upgraded capacities, such as increased well pressure (20k) and hook load (1500st).

OVERDRILL design will be presented during the Houston OTC of May 6-10, 2013.

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Gulf of Mexico: PXP Hires Noble’s New Drillships for $1.3 Bln

Noble Corporation  today announced that the Company has entered into two three-year term drilling contracts with Plains Exploration & Production Company for the Noble Sam Croft and the Noble Tom Madden, two of Noble’s new ultra-deepwater drillships currently under construction at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.

The drillships, which are being constructed on a fixed price basis, are expected to be utilized for operations primarily in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico under these contracts.

The Noble Sam Croft is expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2014, followed closely by the Noble Tom Madden, which is expected to be delivered in second half of 2014. The contracts are expected to commence following mobilization to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and customer acceptance. Revenues to be generated over the three-year terms are expected to total approximately $693 million per rig, including mobilization fees, representing in excess of $1.3 billion in total potential backlog. With the award of contracts for these two units, all four ultra-deepwater drillships under construction for Noble at HHI are now under contract.

“With the addition of these units to our U.S. Gulf of Mexico fleet, Noble will have one of the most modern and capable fleets in the region, a fact that demonstrates the fundamental change going on across the Company,” noted David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “At the same time, these contracts provide us with significant additional backlog, while expanding and diversifying our customer base as we grow our relationship with an important new customer.”

The Noble Sam Croft and the Noble Tom Madden are two of the four ultra-deepwater drillships being constructed for Noble by HHI. All four drillships are based on a Hyundai Gusto P10000 hull design, capable of operations in water depths of up to 12,000 feet and offering a variable deck load of 20,000 metric tons. The Noble Sam Croft and Noble Tom Madden will be fully equipped to operate in up to 10,000 feet of water while offering DP-3 station keeping, two complete six-ram BOP systems, multiple parallel activity features that improve overall well construction efficiencies and accommodations for up to 210 personnel. Both rigs also will also be equipped with a 165-ton heave compensated construction cranes to facilitate deployment of subsea production equipment, providing another level of efficiency during field development programs.

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Shell Hires Transocean’s 4 Newbuild UDW Drillships (South Korea)

Transocean Ltd.  announced that it has been awarded 10-year contracts for four newbuild dynamically positioned ultra-deepwater drillships by Royal Dutch Shell (Shell).

Shipyard delivery for the first drillship is scheduled for mid-2015. The remaining three drillships are expected to be delivered from the shipyard at approximately six-month intervals thereafter. After customer acceptance, the contracts are expected to commence in 2015 and 2016, contributing an estimated revenue backlog of $7.6 billion, excluding mobilization. The aggregate capital investment for the four newbuild rigs is an estimated $3.0 billion, excluding capitalized interest.

All four drillships have advanced capabilities: each is designed to operate in water depths of up to 12,000 feet and drill wells to 40,000 feet. Featuring state-of-the-art equipment, including Transocean’s patented dual-activity drilling technology, the newbuild drillships will possess industry-leading hoisting capacity. The drillships will also have a variable deckload capacity of 23,000 metric tons and feature enhanced well completion capabilities. In addition, each newbuild rig will be outfitted with two 15,000 psi blowout preventers (BOPs), which are expected to reduce customer non-productive time between wells. The four newbuild drillships will be able to accommodate a future upgrade to a 20,000 psi BOP, when it becomes available. The rigs will also feature diesel engines configured to comply with anticipated Tier III International Maritime Organization (IMO) emissions standards.

These contracts add 40 years of rig work to our revenue backlog, expand and upgrade our ultra-deepwater fleet, improve our fleet mix and provide an opportunity to expand our relationship with an important customer with which we have 40 years of experience in advancing the state of the art in offshore drilling technology,” said Steven L. Newman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transocean Ltd. “We look forward to providing Shell with incremental value through the addition of these seventh-generation, ultra-deepwater drillships.”

Peter Sharpe, Shell’s Executive Vice President, Wells, said, “Shell continues to develop its deepwater operations and modernize its contracted rig fleet at fair market rates. These state-of-the-art deepwater rigs, on which we are collaborating with Transocean to design, will comply with the highest industry standards for safety, operations and environmental protection for drilling deepwater wells.

The newbuild rigs will be constructed at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. facility at Okpo, South Korea, where Transocean’s five Enhanced Enterprise-Class rigs were built and where the company currently has two other ultra-deepwater drillships under construction. Construction on the first drillship is expected to commence during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Shell Hires Transocean’s 4 Newbuild UDW Drillships (South Korea)| Offshore Energy Today.

Gulf of Mexico: Seadrill Secures Contracts for Three Newbuild Drillships

Seadrill has received a commitment from a major oil company for new contracts on newbuild drillships West Auriga, West Vela and a third drilling unit currently in operation, which will be named later. The combined 3 rig package involves 19 rig years and a potential contract value of US$4 billion, including mobilization fees for the newbuild units.

West Auriga and West Vela are currently under construction at Samsung Shipyard in Korea. The newbuild units will commence transits to the Gulf of Mexico upon delivery from the yard, scheduled for late February and May 2013. Start-up of operations are scheduled for September and December 2013. The West Auriga and West Vela are the fourth and fifth drillships delivered to Seadrill by Samsung in the last 4 years. Each rig will be equipped with 1250 ton load capacity, an active heave compensated subsea construction crane and two 7 ram blow out preventers.

Alf C Thorkildsen, Chief Executive Officer in Seadrill Management AS, says, “The breadth and depth of this commitment from a major oil company is the result of our track record of delivering rigs on time, operating with a competent workforce and having the availability of a modern fleet. We are excited about the opportunity to further grow our fleet and operations in the US Gulf of Mexico, which we consider as one of the most cost effective drilling regions. In addition, the term of the contracts fits well with Seadrill financing plans including the potential use of MLP financing.”

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