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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.


Sonardyne Supplies BOP Control System to Noble’s Drillship (USA)

Sonardyne Supplies BOP Control System to Noble’s Drillship (USA)

Sonardyne International Ltd. has been awarded a contract by Noble Corporation to supply a Wireless Acoustic Emergency BOP Control System for its new deepwater drillship. The Noble Globetrotter II is the fifth Noble new-build vessel, along with other existing rigs, to be equipped with Sonardyne’s safety critical acoustic technology, providing reliable through-water wireless communications, positioning and BOP control in an emergency situation.

The Noble Globetrotter II is of similar design to its sister vessel, the Noble Globetrotter I. The vessel is due to begin work in the Gulf of Mexico in the second half of 2013.

Noble Corporation is one of the largest offshore drilling contractors in the world and operates a worldwide fleet of 79 rigs and drillships. The Noble Globetrotter II is currently en route to the Netherlands for tower and drilling system installation and once complete, will be capable of drilling in water depths up to 10,000ft. The vessel is due to begin work in the Gulf of Mexico in the second half of 2013 on long-term contract to Shell.

In the event of loss of normal communications with a BOP stack, Sonardyne’s self-contained, high security acoustic command and control backup system is used to execute emergency shutdown and riser disconnect procedures. The digital wideband acoustic signal technology incorporated into the supplied system has been proven to offer reliable performance in a well blow-out scenario despite intense noise pollution from a ruptured wellhead that would have severely limited the performance of an analogue acoustic BOP system.

“We have previously installed Sonardyne BOP control systems on several other Noble rigs so we’re delighted to be able to continue providing them with the critical positioning and control solutions they need,” said Ted Kenny, Business Development Manager of Subsea Control Systems at Sonardyne. “As the only provider with acoustic systems that are field-proven in the immediate vicinity of a major subsea blowout, we have the technology and in-depth knowledge to support Noble as it continues with its deep water exploration activities. The redundancy of the equipment chosen for the Noble Globetrotter II means that they will be able to reliably communicate with the BOP from either the rig or remotely from a standby vessel if the need ever arises.”

Subsea World News – Sonardyne Supplies BOP Control System to Noble’s Drillship (USA).

Noble Homer Ferrington to Drill Gabriella License Offshore Israel

Adira Energy Ltd. announces that Modiin Energy L.P, on behalf of the Gabriella License consortium, including Adira and Brownstone Energy, has executed a detailed drilling contract with Noble International Ltd (“Noble Drilling”). The Agreement provides for the drilling of the Gabriella License by the Noble Homer Ferrington semi-submersible rig prior to the government regulated spud date of June 30, 2013.

Jeffrey E. Walter, Chief Executive Officer of Adira Energy stated: “Another major milestone has been delivered to Adira’s shareholders with the signing of the Homer Ferrington rig contract. This will enable us to drill the highly anticipated Gabriella License which is Adira’s core asset. With over 110 million barrels of contingent oil resources, this project is important to Adira as well as a fundamental key in moving forward on the oil potential offshore Israel. The Homer Ferrington has drilled some of the most successful discovery wells in the Eastern Mediterranean including “Leviathan” offshore Israel and “Block 12” offshore Cyprus. ”

The Gabriella License is located approximately 10 kilometers northwest of Tel Aviv, in the waters offshore Israel. The block covers an area of approximately 392 square kilometers (97,000 acres) and is in water depths that range from 100 meters on the east side of the block to just over 425 meters on the southwest side of the block. Adira holds a 15% Working Interest in the Gabriella License plus a 15% back-in option from Modin Energy, to be exercised within six months of discovery, at cost.


Noble’s New Drillship Enters Three-Year Contract in GoM

Noble Corporation announced that the Company has entered into a three-year term drilling contract with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for the Noble Bob Douglas, one of Noble’s new ultra-deepwater drillships currently under construction at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea. The drillship, which is being constructed on a fixed price basis, is expected to be utilized for operations primarily in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The Noble Bob Douglas is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2013. The contract is expected to commence thereafter following mobilization to an initial operating location and client acceptance. Revenues to be generated over the three-year term are expected to total approximately $677 million. The contract also provides for an operating cost escalation provision.

The Noble Bob Douglas is one of 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 Bob Douglas will be delivered 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. The rig will also be equipped with a 165-ton heave compensated construction crane to facilitate deployment of subsea production equipment, providing another level of efficiency during field development programs.

With the award of this contract for the Noble Bob Douglas, two of the Company’s four ultra-deepwater drillships under construction at HHI are now under contract. The remaining two uncontracted drillships are scheduled to be delivered from the shipyard in 2014.


Recap: Worldwide Field Development News (Jun 8 – Jun 14, 2012)


This week the SubseaIQ team added 1 new projects and updated 25 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Asia – SouthEast
Salamander Enters Rig Sharing Agreement
Jun 14, 2012 – Salamander Energy has entered into a rig sharing agreement for use of the Ocean General (mid-water semisub) to begin its exploration drilling campaign in the North Kutei basin, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The rig will be on contract starting July 1, 2012. The company has committed to drill the South Kecapi, South Kecapi side-track, North Kendang and Bedug prospects and has an additional four-option well slots under the contract to allow follow up drilling in the event of a success. The prospects are located in the Bontang and SE Sangatta PSCs. It is estimated that drilling in the company’s North Kutei acreage will commence in the fourth quarter 2012.
Exploratory Drilling Commences at Ratnadewi Prospect
Jun 12, 2012 – Niko Resources reported that drilling has commenced at the Ratnadewi-1 prospect in the Lhokseumawe Block using the Hercules 208 (MC jackup). The prospect is situated offshore Indonesia.
Niko to Explore Lebah Prospect in August
Jun 12, 2012 – The Discoverer Seven Seas (DW drillship) is slated to commence drilling at the Lebah prospect in the North Ganal block offshore Indonesia in August.
AWE to P&A Atlas-1 Well
Jun 12, 2012 – AWE will plug and abandon its Atlas-1 well due to a high percentage of carbon dioxide. AWE was targeting a carbonate reservoir sequence that, together with the nearby Lengo gas discovery, was thought might contain up to one trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas. On June 7, 2012 AWE announced that it had drilled the well to 2,011 feet (613 meters), and that indications of both methane and carbon dioxide had been detected within the upper part of the Kujung carbonate reservoir section.
Project Details: Atlas
Adira Energy, Noble International Accept LOA
Jun 13, 2012 – Adira Energy reported that Noble International has accepted a Letter of Award, which will enable Modiin Energy to execute a detailed drilling contract on behalf of the Gabriella consortium partners, including Adira and Brownstone Energy. Adira has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Modiin Energy authorizing Modiin Energy to enter into a drilling contract with Noble Drilling and/or any of its affiliates to drill the Gabriella License prior to the revised spud date of June 30, 2013. To the extent possible, representatives of Adira shall participate in the negotiations with Noble Drilling regarding the Agreement. The consortium will now finalize the agreement to secure the Noble Homer Farrington (mid-water semisub) for a minimum of 75 days for a program that is expected to include one well plus sidetrack. Effective once the agreement has been signed, Adira grants Modiin Energy an irrevocable option to purchase from Adira a 15 percent participating interest in the Yitzhak License.
Project Details: Gabriella
Adira Energy Granted Gabriella, Yitzhak License Extensions
Jun 12, 2012 – Adira Energy announced that the Ministry of Energy and Water of the State of Israel has granted an extension of the dates for the execution of a drilling contract and the spudding of the first well at the offshore Gabriella and Yitzhak licenses. For the Gabriella license, the new contract execution date is Sept. 1, 2012; submission of an environmental study is now slated for July 20, 2012; and the new spud date is June 30, 2013. For the Yitzhak license, the new contract execution date is Sept. 1, 2012; submission of an environmental study is Sept. 1, 2012; and the new spud date is Oct. 30, 2013. The submission date of the Environmental Study was moved forward, and Adira management believes that they will be met by the deadline.
Project Details: Gabriella
N. America – US GOM
Petrobras Detects Small Leak of Hydraulic Fluid at Chinook
Jun 13, 2012 – Petrobras reported that a “small leak” of hydraulic fluid was detected during commissioning of a submarine system Sunday at its Chinook field in the GOM. Petrobras did not disclose the volume of the fluid that leaked. The company has notified U.S. officials of the leak, as well as set up an internal commission to evaluate the cause of the incident, reported Dow Jones Newswires. The field is still being developed with first production slated for later this year.
Project Details: The Greater Chinook Area
BP Brings Galapagos Project Online
Jun 12, 2012 – BP has commenced production from the deepwater three-field Galapagos development –Isabela, Santiago and Santa Cruz ??? in the Gulf of Mexico. The three fields are connected via a flowline loop to the BP-operated Na Kika host platform, situated about 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of New Orleans in 6,500 feet (1,981 meters) of water. Production is slated to ramp up by the end of the month from the Na Kika facility, which has an output capacity of 130,000 bopd and has been modified to handle additional output from the fields.
Project Details: Na Kika
ATP Resumes Production at Telemark Hub
Jun 11, 2012 – ATP reported that production at the ATP Titan platform has resumed, which services the company’s Telemark Hub. Production from the ATP Titan, shut-in since May 14, resumed after the operator of the Mars pipeline temporarily shut in the pipeline to allow for the tie-in of a new offsetting platform which has now been completed. Production at the ATP Titan is proceeding as expected and will ramp up over the next few days.
Project Details: Telemark
S. America – Other & Carib.
Niko Spuds Shadow-1
Jun 12, 2012 – Niko Resources has spudded the Shadow-1 well, located on the 2 (ab) Block, offshore Trinidad, using the Rowan Gorilla III (ILC jackup).
Series of Short-term Production Interruptions Occurs on Processing Facility
Jun 8, 2012 – Nexus Energy reported that a series of short-term production interruptions have occurred due to an intermittent electrical fault at the Patricia-Baleen gas processing facility. Production at the facility has been suspended, with outage expected to continue until the fault is identified and fixed through an offshore intervention program. The location of the fault has not yet been determined and could be within the Santos or Nexus offshore facilities. A vessel has been mobilized and is scheduled to arrive at the field on June 15, 2012, depending on weather, to commence the inspection and rectification works. The facility receives gas via a pipeline from Bexu???s offshore Longtom field.
Project Details: Longtom
Africa – West
Tullow Oil Intersects Good Quality Oil in Paon
Jun 8, 2012 – Tullow Oil reported that the Paon-1X exploration well in the CI-303 license offshore Cote d’Ivoire has intersected good quality light oil in a Turonian fan system. Paon-1X, the first deepwater exploration well drilled in the license, encountered 102 feet (31 meters) of net oil pay in a gross interval of 243 feet (74 meters) of turbidite sands. Pressure data indicates that this interval contains a continuous hydrocarbon column and samples show that it is a light oil of 41 degrees API. Further analysis is required to determine reservoir quality and the extent of the fan system. Following completion of logging operations, the well will be suspended for possible future use in appraisal and development operations. Drilled by the Eirik Raude (UDW semisub), the Paon-1X well reached a final depth of 16,699 feet (5,090 meters) in a water depth of 7,195 feet (2,193 meters).
Project Details: Paon
Europe – North Sea
Lundin Temporarily Suspends Albert Drilling
Jun 14, 2012 – Noreco reported that exploratory drilling on well 6201/11-3 in Production License 519, targeting the Albert prospect, has been temporarily suspended until August. The Bredford Dolphin (mid-water semisub) is moving to a Norwegian yard to complete its five-year renewal survey before returning to complete the Albert exploration well.
Project Details: Albert
Bridge Energy Acquires Stake in Boa Field
Jun 14, 2012 – Bridge Energy has signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement to acquire a 1.55 percent working interest in the producing Boa field from OMV Limited for a consideration of $18.1 million. The interest will add production of 250 bopd to Bridge. The unitized field extends across the UK/Norway median line and lies 88.65 percent in Norway Block 24/6 and 11.35 percent in UK Blocks 9/15a and 9/15b. The field was developed in 2008 as part of the wider Alvheim area development with three subsea development wells tied-back to the Alvheim FPSO operated by Marathon. Oil from Boa is shipped by shuttle tanker while gas is exported into the UK market via the Beryl SAGE system. The field is expected to produce until 2022.
Project Details: Alvheim
Statoil Gets Govt Nod to Drill at Troll
Jun 14, 2012 – Statoil was granted consent to drill on the Troll field using the COSLInnovator (mid-water semisub). The consent applies to drilling, completion and plugback on the field in a water depth of 1,093 feet (333 meters). Statoil’s contract with COSL Drilling Europe for use of the COSLInnovator has a duration of eight years from the start of the contract.
Project Details: Troll Area
Xcite Reaches TD at Bentley Well
Jun 13, 2012 – Xcite Energy has reached a targeted depth of 9,646 feet (2,940 meters) at well 9/3b-7z on the Bentley field. A reservoir section in excess of 2,000 feet (610 meters) has been drilled with 100 percent net pay and sand control screens have been run successfully. The top reservoir, at 3,609 feet (1,100 meters) true vertical depth, is higher than previously encountered in any part of the field to date, thereby giving an oil column depth of approximately 121 feet (37 meters). The remainder of the planned operations, including installation of the smart completion equipment (enabling individual laterals to be flowed, co-mingled or shut-in), the down-hole pumps and commissioning of the processing equipment will now be undertaken prior to commencing production testing.
Project Details: Bentley
Antrim Eying Fyne Development
Jun 13, 2012 – Antrim Energy has been granted an extension for the submission of a Field Development Plan for the Fyne field in the UK sector of the North Sea. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) notified the operator that it has extended the deadline for submission of an FDP for the Fyne field from June 2012 to January 2013. Antrim also anticipates DECC approval of the transfer to Antrim of the working interests of the other two partners in the License, Premier Oil UK Limited and First Oil Expro Limited, as well as the transfer of operatorship to Antrim from Premier. Once DECC approves the transfers, Antrim will be operator and hold 100 percent working interest in the Fyne License. The license target date for first production remains in the fourth quarter of 2014. Antrim continues its work on the design of a small SPAR production facility to determine its suitability for Fyne and surrounding fields in the Greater Fyne Area. In parallel with this work, Antrim is seeking joint venture partners to participate in appraisal and development of the Greater Fyne Area discoveries, including West Teal in Block 21/24b (Antrim 100 percent).
Project Details: Fyne
Apache Spuds Tryfan Well
Jun 13, 2012 – Apache has commenced exploratory drilling at the Tryfan prospect located in UK Block 3/17. The operator reported that Tryfan is an Eocene channelized sand play in the northern North Sea which benefits from a strong seismic amplitude response. The well is estimated to take around 25 days to complete.
Project Details: Tryfan
Norwegian Parliament OKs Edvard Grieg Development
Jun 11, 2012 – The Norwegian Parliament has approved development and operation plans for Lundin’s Edvard Grieg field, formerly Luno. This is the first project to progress to the development phase in the oil-rich Utsira High area of the Norwegian North Sea. The Edvard Grieg field is estimated to hold about 186 million barrels of oil equivalent and is scheduled to come on-stream in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Edvard Grieg development plan includes drilling of 15 wells from a jack-up rig, a processing platform on a jacket structure and export pipelines tied-back to existing infrastructure.
Project Details: Edvard Grieg (Luno, Draupne) Project
Total Receives Consent to Develop Martin Linge
Jun 11, 2012 – Total has received approval from the Norwegian Parliament for the development and operation of the Martin Linge, formerly Hild field. The field, which holds estimated recoverable reserves of 189 million boe, will be exploited using a fixed platform with gas to be exported via the UK pipeline system and oil to be processed and stored on a floating storage and offloading vessel for export by shuttle tanker.
Project Details: Martin Linge (Hild)
CGGVeritas to Acquire Seismic Survey over Ekofisk
Jun 8, 2012 – CGGVeritas will commence a survey acquisition of the Ekofisk field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, as part of the multi-year Life-of-Field seismic program for which it was awarded both the seismic data acquisition and processing. Mobilization is set to begin early June 2012, and the shooting period will last about one month. Production commenced from the Ekofisk field in 1971, and Eldfisk came on stream in 1979. ConocoPhillips operates the license, PL 018, with a 35.11% interest; Total holds 39.90%; Eni holds 12.39%; Statoil holds 7.60%; and Petoro holds 5%.
Project Details: Ekofisk Center
Africa – Other
Statoil Hits Pay in Tanzania
Jun 14, 2012 – Statoil reported that logging results from its Lavani well, offshore Tanzania, has confirmed a new high-impact discovery. The company said that preliminary estimates suggest a resource of three trillion cubic feet of gas-in-place. The Lavani well encountered 312 feet (95 meters) of “excellent quality” reservoir sandstone with high porosity and high permeability. The Lavani well, drilled in 7,875 feet (2,400 meters) of water depth is being drilling by Ocean Rig Poseidon (UDW drillship).
Project Details: Lavani
Anadarko Strikes Again in Rovuma Basin
Jun 11, 2012 – Anadarko has made another significant natural gas discovery offshore Mozambique in the Rovuma Basin. The Atum discovery well encountered more than 300 feet (92 meters) of natural gas pay in two high-quality Oligocene fan systems. According to preliminary data, the latest discovery is connected to the recent Golfinho discovery located approximately 10 miles (16.5 kilometers) northwest in Offshore Area 1. “We estimate this new complex, which is located entirely within the Offshore Area 1 block, holds 10 to 30-plus trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of incremental recoverable natural gas resources,” said Bob Daniels, Anadarko???s senior vice president of worldwide exploration. The Atum well was drilled by Dolphin Drilling rig Belford Dolphin (UDW drillship) to a total depth of approximately 12,665 feet (3,860 meters) in approximately 3,285 feet (1,000 meters) of water.
Project Details: Atum
S. America – Brazil
BW Offshore Signs Operation Contract with Statoil
Jun 12, 2012 – BW Offshore has signed a five-year contract with Statoil for the operation of the Peregrino FPSO, with options for an additional 15 years. The unit is operating at the Peregrino oil field offshore Brazil and BW Offshore will take over operations after a transition period of six months. The Peregrino field is located 53 miles (85 kilometers) off the Rio de Janeiro coast in a water depth of 394 feet (120 meters). Statoil operates the field holding a 60% interest; Sinochem holds the remaining 40%.
Project Details: Peregrino
Petrobras Finds Light Oil in Southern Portion of Sapinhoa
Jun 11, 2012 – Petrobras has found light crude oil at well, 1-BRSA-1045-SPS located in the southern portion of Sapinhoa field at a water depth of 7,222 feet (2,202 meters). The company’s cable tests confirmed that the discovery is of around 27 degree API. Under a ‘Rights Transfer Agreement’, the company is entitled to produce 319 million barrels of crude equivalent in the area. Petrobras is currently trying to drill the well to a depth of 16,590 feet (5,058 meters) to determine the lower limit of the reservoir. After drilling is completed, the company plans to conduct a formation test to determine the productivity of the oil reservoir.
Project Details: Sapinhoa (Guara)

SMU Report: Permitting delays & new regs stifling offshore drilling

Rig workers, like Robert Cornett, right, pause while mopping the decks on the Hercules 251. (Photo: Smiley N. Pool, Houston Chronicle)

by Jennifer A. Dlouhy

The offshore drilling industry is still rebounding from a five-month moratorium and new regulations after the 2010 Gulf oil spill, with consumers paying the price at the pump, according to a new report being released today.

The findings buck the conventional wisdom about a recent resurgence in offshore drilling that has caused a spike in demand for workers and a run on rigs to drill new wells.

Drilling contractors, including Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., Noble Corp., and Rowan Cos., say they are seeing strong demand for their rigs. Energy analysts predict 10 more will float into the Gulf this year. And the number of active offshore rigs in the United States was higher at the end of April 2012 than the average total in 2009, the year before the spill (the economic decline had driven down demand that year).

But according to the new analysis, conducted by the Southern Methodist University Cox Maguire Energy Institute, high rig counts, the numbers of federal permits to drill new wells and other positive stats mask problems that could mean suppressed oil and gas production for years to come.

The study was commissioned by the Gulf Economic Survival Team, which has been lobbying for swifter permitting of offshore projects.

Read more: Fuel Fix » SMU Report: Permitting delays & new regs stifling offshore drilling.

UK: Nautronix to Supply Acoustic Positioning System for Noble’s New Drillship

Nautronix have secured another order for the supply of their NASDrill RS925 deepwater acoustic positioning system for Noble Corporation’s fourth new ultra-deepwater drillship. In 2011, Nautronix was awarded the contracts for supplying their NASDrill RS925 system for Noble’s first three new drill ships.

All new vessels will be constructed at Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, Korea and will be based on a Hyundai Gusto P10000 design. The rigs will have DP-3 station keeping abilities and the capacity to handle two complete BOP systems allowing for operation in water depths of up to 12,000 feet.

Mark Patterson, Nautronix CEO, commented “This order further strengthens our relationship with Noble Corporation and I believe that it demonstrates their confidence in our NASDrill RS925 system”.

NASDrill RS925 has been designed specifically to meet the requirements for a reliable, stable DP and position reference system for demanding offshore operations, in particular deepwater drilling vessels.

The system combines the two most accurate deepwater acoustic positioning technologies – Short Baseline (SBL) and Long Baseline (LBL) – to calculate multiple independent position solutions providing reliable, repeatable input to the vessel DP system; with SBL mode providing accuracies of 0.15% slant range and LBL mode providing accuracies up to 1m RMS independent of water depth.

The NASDrill RS925 system is supplied with all external interfacing to the Dynamic Positioning System for automatic station keeping and can be used as part of an integrated acoustically-aided INS positioning solution.

The system is also fully upgradable to use NASeBOP and NASNet® (Nautronix unique underwater GPS).

As with all Nautronix leading commercial acoustic systems, NASDrill RS925 utilises Nautronix proprietary ADS² (Acoustic Digital Spread Spectrum) broadband signalling technology which has been proven, with over ten years of successful subsea operations, to provide superior accuracy, repeatability and reliability for dynamic positioning of vessels during deepwater drilling operations.


Hercules sees more rigs in GOM


Hercules Offshore expects to end the year with more rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, as the top shallow-water driller in the region looks to cash in on higher day rates, a report said.

News wires  26 January 2012 05:42 GMT

Day rates could rise further as oil majors ramp up spending in the Gulf of Mexico after the government eased up restrictions on drilling permits that were imposed following the Macondo oil spill, chief executive John Rynd told Reuters in an interview.

“As we exit 2012, we may be running 19 or 20 rigs versus the current 18 (in the Gulf of Mexico),” said Rynd, who joined Hercules in 2005 after working with peers like Rowan Co and the drilling unit of Noble Corp.

A total of about 40 shallow-water rigs are active in the region and all of them are contracted, he added.

Houston-based Hercules has been commanding day rates of about $55,000 on average. The cost of renting a rig by the day has risen about $20,000 in the last one year.

“The rates are stable… we have a positive outlook for 2012,” Rynd said.

Activity in Gulf of Mexico is picking up after the 2010 oil spill brought drilling there to a standstill and higher oil prices are boosting exploration work in the region.

Oilfield services leader Schlumberger expects rig count in the Gulf of Mexico to top the level seen prior to the BP disaster, later in the year.

Rynd said Hercules is still in talks with Petroleos Mexicanos regarding its jack-up rigs. The Mexican state oil company did not renew contracts for two Hercules rigs following an accident in 2008.

The company, which is valued at about $618 million, caters to Chevron and Apache in the US Gulf and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) in India.

Hercules shares were trading up 2% at $4.57 on Wednesday afternoon on the Nasdaq.

The stock has gained nearly two-thirds of its value in the October-December quarter, outperforming the broader S&P Oil & Gas Drilling Sub-Industry Index, which has grown 21% during the period.

Published: 26 January 2012 05:42 GMT  | Last updated: 26 January 2012 05:45 GMT


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