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BP Brings Two Rigs to Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

BP  has added two drilling rigs to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, bringing its fleet to a company record nine rigs as it continues to develop its strong portfolio of assets in the key U.S. offshore basin.

One of the rigs is a new ultra-deepwater drillship known as the West Auriga that is under long-term contract to BP from Seadrill Ltd, a leading international offshore drilling contractor. The vessel, capable of operating in up to 12,000 feet of water, has begun development drilling work at BP’s Thunder Horse field.

The other is a reconstructed drilling rig on BP’s Mad Dog oil and gas production platform. It replaces the original rig on the platform that was badly damaged and left inoperable by Hurricane Ike in 2008. With the new, state-of-the art rig, the platform recently resumed development drilling at the massive Mad Dog field complex.

“The addition of these two rigs reflects the vital importance of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to the future of BP,” said Richard Morrison, Regional President of BP’s Gulf of Mexico business. “It also clearly demonstrates BP’s commitment to the American economy and to U.S. energy security.”

BP currently anticipates investing on average at least $4 billion in the Gulf of Mexico each year for the next decade. The company plans to concentrate future activity and investment in the Gulf on growth opportunities around its four major operated production hubs – Thunder Horse, Na Kika, Atlantis and Mad Dog – and three non-operated production hubs – Mars, Ursa and Great White – in the deepwater, as well as on significant exploration and appraisal opportunities in the Paleogene and elsewhere.

BP is also advancing a strong pipeline of future development projects in the deepwater Gulf. In April, the company started up the Atlantis North expansion, the first of seven additional wells to be tied back to the existing Atlantis platform. At Na Kika, another field expansion is planned, following the successful startup last year of the Galapagos development, a subsea tieback to the Na Kika production facility. BP is also pursuing plans for a second phase of the Mad Dog field.

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LLOG Experiencing Tremendous Growth, CEO Says

LLOG Exploration today provided an update on the status of Deepwater drilling contracts, production at the Who Dat field, development activities at the Marmalard discovery, and its recent Powerball discovery.

On April 2, a three-year contract, with an option for an additional year at mutually-agreeable rates, between LLOG Bluewater Holdings, LLC (the joint venture partnership between LLOG and Blackstone) and Sevan Drilling was announced for the Sevan Louisiana ultra-deepwater drilling rig that is currently under construction in China. The rig will be capable of drilling in water depths up to 10,000 feet, and is scheduled for delivery in Q4 2013.

On April 16, LLOG Bluewater Holdings and Seadrill announced a three-year contract, with an option for a fourth year at mutually-agreeable rates, for the new-build, ultra-deepwater drillship West Neptune. The West Neptune is being built in South Korea and is scheduled for delivery in Q2 2014. The rig will have two BOPs, will be outfitted to work in up to 10,000 feet of water, and is capable of water depths up to 12,000 feet and drilling depths up to 37,000 feet.

First production from the fifth well in the Who Dat field at Mississippi Canyon 503/504/546/547 was initiated on April 12, bringing total production to 28 thousand barrels of oil and 58 million cubic feet of gas per day. The development plan for the field calls for the company to drill eight additional wells, which would fully utilize the 60 MBOPD and 150 MMCFD capacity of the floating production system.

Drilling activities are underway on Mississippi Canyon 255 #1, a development well resulting from the Marmalard discovery announced in August of 2012. The Marmalard discovery well at Mississippi Canyon 300 was drilled to a total depth of 18,100 feet and encountered two oil-bearing zones. Marmalard is one of the discoveries that will be tied back to the Delta House Floating Production System, which is under construction and scheduled to begin operations in 2015. LLOG Bluewater owns a 26% working interest in Marmalard.

On the Shelf, the South Timbalier 231 #1 well (Powerball South) was drilled to a depth of 18,915 feet and encountered over 90 feet of net gas/condensate pay in high quality reservoir sands. Facilities are being constructed to bring the well on line in Q3 2014, and another well is planned for later in the year. LLOG Bluewater owns a 74% working interest in South Timbalier 231/232.

Scott Gutterman, President and CEO of LLOG, commented: “These activities are further evidence of the tremendous growth being experienced at LLOG. The two rig contracts will allow us to develop the acreage around our Delta House project and explore our extensive portfolio of exploration prospects in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Who Dat continues to perform extremely well, and we are quite enthusiastic about the opportunities at Marmalard and Powerball.”

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LLOG to Deploy Seadrill’s Newbuild Drillship West Neptune

Seadrill has signed a contract with LLOG Bluewater Holdings, LLC, for employment of the newbuild drillship, West Neptune, offshore Gulf of Mexico.

The contract duration is a minimum of three years plus an option for a one-year extension at mutually agreed rates. The potential revenue for the primary contract term is approximately US$662 million. The West Neptune is expected to be delivered to Seadrill from the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea, in early June 2014. The rig will be outfitted to work in up to 10,000′ of water and is capable of water depths up to 12,000′ and drilling depths up to 37,000′.

Fredrik Halvorsen, CEO and President of Seadrill Management Ltd. says in a comment, “We are delighted to have signed our first contract with LLOG, a leading independent operator in the Gulf of Mexico. This award complements our expanding deepwater operations in the area with Seadrill’s fleet growing to six ultra-deepwater units within the US and Mexican Gulf of Mexico over the next 18 months. In addition, this contract brings Seadrill’s order backlog to US$20.9 billion. We continue to experience strong demand for premium ultra-deepwater rigs and expect to further increase our backlog and earnings visibility in the next months as our additional ultra-deepwater units under construction secure term contracts.”

Scott Gutterman, President and CEO of LLOG, added: “The West Neptune will be the first dual BOP rig in the Gulf of Mexico for LLOG. LLOG will initially utilize the rig to perform completions of our Delta House wells. Having two BOP’s will allow LLOG to complete our wells efficiently saving up to 12 days per completion. Execution of this contract is another key step in accelerating the drilling and development of our extensive portfolio of exploration prospects in the Gulf of Mexico. Seadrill is an outstanding company and we are looking forward to the business relationship.”

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Seadrill Partners Begins IPO Process

Seadrill Partners, today announced that it has started an initial public offering of 8,750,000 common units, and, according to Reuters, the company plans to raise as much as $193 million.

Seadrill Partners, a subsidiary of international drilling contractor Seadrill Limited, intends to grant the underwriters a 30-day over-allotment option to purchase up to 1,312,500 additional common units. The common units being offered to the public have been approved for listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SDLP,” subject to official notice of issuance.

Based on the number of common units to be offered, Seadrill Limited will own a 78.8% limited liability company interest in Seadrill Partners following completion of the Offering (or a 75.7% limited liability company interest, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common units.)

Seadrill Partners was formed by Seadrill Limited to own, operate and acquire offshore drilling rigs under long-term contracts. Seadrill Partners’ initial fleet will consist of two semi-submersible rigs (West Capricorn and West Aquarius), one drillship (West Capella) and one tender rig (West Vencedor).

Seadrill Partners Begins IPO Process| Offshore Energy Today.

South Korea: Samsung Yard Bags $ 600 Mln UDW Drillship Order

Seadrill has entered into a turnkey contract to build a new ultra-deepwater drillship at the Samsung yard in South Korea. The project value price is estimated to be around US$600 million (including project management, drilling and handling tools, spares, capitalized interest and operations preparations) with tail-heavy payment terms payable upon delivery, which is scheduled within the fourth quarter 2014.

Delivery is scheduled for the fourth quarter 2014. In addition, Seadrill has agreed a fixed price option to build a further drillship at the yard, with delivery in the first quarter 2015. With the current strong demand there is limited availability of rigs in 2014 and Seadrill believes it is likely that the option will be exercised and is currently discussing details of upgrades of that unit.

The drillship will be of the same design as the existing six drillships under construction at Samsung and will have a hook load capability of 1,250 tons and a water depth capacity of up to 12,000 feet targeting operations in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West and East Africa. Also, these units will be outfitted with seven ram configuration of the blowout preventer (BOP) stack and with storing and handling capacity for a second BOP.

Yard costs are currently at very attractive levels. This together with the delivery time in 2014, the strength of the ultra-deepwater market and Seadrill’s proven track-record of taking delivery on time and on budget makes this into an investment which is likely to deliver an excellent return to our shareholders.

Seadrill’s construction program now totals 19 units, including 7 drillships, 2 harsh environment semi-submersibles, 5 tender rigs and 5 jack ups. In addition the Company has fixed priced options for three ultra-deepwater/harsh environment units.

The initial installments for the new drillship will be funded by liquidity from the recent US$1 billion bond offering.

Chairman of Seadrill Limited John Fredriksen says, “We have a unique environment where both daily rates and contract duration are increasing to new highs, while yard prices remain low due to the overcapacity in the shipyard industry. This presents an excellent investment opportunity under which we can continue to aggressively grow Seadrill. The new ordering has been evaluated up against several M&A and asset proposals but the Board has concluded that organic growth through contracting new buildings at attractive prices is likely to give higher long-term return to shareholders. The deepwater drilling industry is transforming from an exploration to a development industry. Such a transformation will trigger a significant increase in the need for the drilling of production wells in order to connect the fields that have been successfully explored in the recent years.”

Fredriksen continued: “Seadrill is best positioned within the drilling industry to meet this tightness. We have in total nine ultra-deep/ harsh environment units for delivery in 2013 – 2015 plus options for an additional three. Two of these units have already been employed on long-term contracts. We are currently in specific discussions regarding attractive long-term employment opportunities for a majority of the remaining firm units. Clarification around these fixtures should be expected in the months to come. The Board has in recent press releases expressed that they are confident that an attractive financing package can be arranged for the new building program. This situation has further improved in the recent months, driven by a well oversubscribed bank financing, good progress on the export financing side as well as the successful trading of the new US$1 billion five-year unsecured note. With a total order backlog in excess of US$20 billion which is likely to increase further in the months to come the Board is confident that the new ordering can be financed without raising additional equity and will contribute positively to future valuation as well as dividend capacity. Seadrill will continue to monitor opportunities in the new building market including the possibilities to declare the existing three options. The target is to continue to grow Seadrills organization, fleet and earnings potential in an optimal and dynamic way. The Board is increasingly excited about the strength of the market and the way Seadrill is exposed to this operationally and financially.”

Shipbuilding Tribune – South Korea: Samsung Yard Bags $ 600 Mln UDW Drillship Order.

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