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.
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.”
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.”
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 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.”
- Pacific Drilling Extends Option to Build Eighth Drillship (South Korea) (worldmaritimenews.com)
- Ultra Deepwater Drilling Poised to Take Advantage of Supply Demand Imbalance (dailyfinance.com)
- Rolls-Royce to Power High Tech Drillships (maritime-executive.com)
- Seadrill Secures Contracts for Three Ultra-Deepwater Units in GoM (worldmaritimenews.com)
- It Seems That Seadrill Will be Buying Beers Today (gcaptain.com)
- SDRL – Seadrill Partners LLC Files for Initial Public Offering (sys-con.com)
Sept. 21, 2012, 1:04 p.m. EDT By Melodie Warner
Seadrill Partners LLC filed plans for an initial public offering estimated at up to $225 million.
The limited liability company was formed by Norwegian oil-services company Seadrill Ltd. (SDRL, SDRL.OS) to own, operate and acquire offshore drilling rigs.
Seadrill Partners said it will use the proceeds to buy from Seadrill Ltd. interests in Seadrill Operating LP and Seadrill Capricorn Holdings LLC, which own and operate Seadrill Partners’s offshore drilling rigs.
After the planned offering, Seadrill Partners said it will own a 30% stake in Seadrill Operating and a 51% stake in Seadrill Capricorn Holdings.
The company said its drilling rigs are under long-term contracts with major oil companies, such as Chevron Corp. (CVX), Total S.A. (TOT, FP.FR), BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), with an average remaining term of 3.1 years as of June 30, according to its regulatory filing.
Seadrill Partners said its profit rose 5.6% to $93.9 million as revenue increased 11% to $275.2 million for the six months ended June 30.
The company has applied to list its common units on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SDLP.
Seadrill Ltd. reported last month its second-quarter earnings fell 14% as higher operating expenses masked the company’s 13% rise in revenue.
The stars are aligned for the success of the ultra-deepwater (UDW) drilling industry. As crude oil prices remain substantially high, oil exploration companies are going farther offshore to obtain new supply sources, supporting the demand for UDW drilling. At the same time, the cost of purchasing UDW drillships remains low, as shipbuilders clamor for any sort of construction orders (rigs and ships) because of the extreme downturn in the shipping industry.
UDW drilling refers to drilling beginning at water depths of more than 7,500 feet. Companies in this field contract out their UDW drilling rigs along with the necessary equipment and work crew on a daily rate basis to drill wells for customers. The nature of the business is very specialized, meaning that it is difficult for a new entrant to replicate the business model and attempt to muscle itself into the picture. Furthermore, the business model is fairly simple. Companies aim to profit from the difference between the daily rates that they charge their customers, and the daily operating expenditures (“OPEX”) that they incur while servicing drillships. So long as daily rates remain high and OPEX stays low, UDW drillers will make a tidy profit.
Fortunately for drillers, the demand and supply dynamics of the industry is in their favor. A typical drillship scheduled for delivery in 2015 can be purchased at around US$650 million, while the ongoing daily rate of a typical UDW drillship is around US$600,000. Assuming daily OPEX of US$200,000, a UDW drillship should bring in about US$400,000 daily. Considering these assets cost an average of US$650 million each and estimated useful lives of around 25-30 years, this spread between daily rates and OPEX could potentially generate US$730 million for the rig owner in five years.
Following the 2010 oil spill incident by BP in the Gulf of Mexico, increased regulation and greater scrutiny has limited the entrant of new UDW players. These policies entrench the incumbent UDW drillers and support the daily rate that companies can charge oil exploration companies such as ExxonMobil. At the same time, prices of new drillships remain low as the global shipbuilding industry goes through a deep cyclical trough. This means that shipbuilding houses are more likely to charge lower prices to obtain any business possible to make up for lost orders from the shipping sector.
Here are some of the drilling companies that have a higher proportion of exposure to UDW drilling and could potentially profit from the demand and supply imbalance in the industry. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)
1. Ocean Rig UDW
ORIG is a pure play that allows one to invest in the deepwater water drilling market as it derives all of its revenue from that particular niche sector. 75% of its rigs are contracted into 2015, thus ensuring some kind of cash flow stability over the next three years. It has six high-spec UDW rigs on the water and three newbuilds scheduled for delivery in 2013. Of its six UDW rigs, it has two semi-submersibles that can drill up to 30,000 feet and four drillships that can drill up to 40,000 feet. Daily rates of all six ships are at least US$450,000, and up to US$675,000.
Furthermore, in August 2012, two of the newbuilds have already been contracted at daily rates of around US$640,000. However, a potential investor might be concerned that its assets are pledged as collateral to loans that are beginning to mature from September 2013 onward. For example, its two semi-submersibles Eirik Raude and Leiv Eiriksson are pledged to a US$1.04 billion revolver that is maturing in 2013.
2. Pacific Drilling (NAS: PACD)
Pacific Drilling derives 100% of its revenue from deepwater drilling. As such, it is one of the only two pure-play UDW drillers on the market. It has a fleet of six UDW drillships, with four delivered and two newbuilds to be delivered by 2013. It has the youngest fleet in the industry. Similar to Ocean Rig, it’s poised to profit from the upturn in deepwater daily rates and a lack of near-term supply of such expertise. The contract backlog for Pacific Drilling is at around US$2.2 billion and consists contracts ranging from one to five years. Two of the rigs operate in Nigeria, one in Brazil and another in the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the concerns about the company is that it has a fairly small fleet and has all its exposure to the deepwater drilling market. Should crude oil prices turn south for a considerable amount of time, the company might run into trouble.
3. Atwood Oceanics (NYS: ATW)
ATW is an international offshore drilling contracted founded in 1968. It currently derives 83% of its revenue from deepwater drilling and has eight rigs on the water, with five semi-submersibles and three jackups. It also has five newbuilds that are ready for delivery by 2014. Given its smaller size compared to the other players in the field, roughly 75% of its revenue is generated from its three largest customers: CVX Australia, Sarawak Shell, and Kosmos Energy Ghana.
The company is poised to take advantage of the upturn in the industry with most of its rigs contracted for a number of years. Its earliest rig repricing will come in December 2012, and this will allow it to have a chance of renewing the contract at a higher daily rate. Furthermore, the company has pretty low leverage compared to its peers with its debt to capital ratio at 26%, far lower than the industry average of around 35%.
4. SeaDrill Limited (NAS: SDRL)
Seadrill derives 66% of its revenue from deepwater drilling in FY2011 and has a mix of deepwater floaters, high-spec Jackups, and newbuilds. A huge advantage in investing in Seadrill is its aggressive dividend yield, which is currently at 9%. Its fleet consists of 66 offshore rigs, with 19 of them being newbuilds. It also has stakes in other offshore drilling companies such as Archer Limited (40%), SapuraKencana (6%), Varia Perdana (49%), Asia Offshore Drilling (34%), and Sevan Drilling ASA (29%). Its EBITDA margin and operating margin over the last two years has also been above those of its peers at 53% and 41%, respectively. However, similar to Ocean Rig, Seadrill has a tremendous amount of debt with its debt to capital ratio over 60%, while its peers are averaging around 35%. While in a rising daily rate environment Seadrill will do well with its leverage, it will suffer if and when the industry suffers a slowdown.
5. Noble Corp. (NYS: NE)
Noble Corp is a leading player in the offshore drilling industry with an existing fleet of close to 70 rigs. The fleet consists of nine drillships, 16 semi-submersibles and 43 jackups. In FY2011, it derived 61% of its revenue from deepwater drilling and will be a benefactor from the uptrend in daily rates of ultra deepwater drilling rigs.
In terms of geographical reach, Noble Corp is everywhere. It has 19 rigs in the Middle East, 12 rigs in Mexico, 10 rigs in Brazil, 10 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, nine rigs in the North Sea, two rigs in the Mediterranean, one in Alaska, and five in other regions.
6. Transocean (NYS: RIG)
Transocean currently derives 59% of its revenue from the deepwater drilling sector. Unfortunately for the company, it was involved in the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. As a result, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the company. However, Transocean is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the offshore drilling market. It has the largest fleet of offshore rigs, with 130 rigs on water and five newbuilds. Furthermore, it has a large cash pile of close to US$4.0 billion and generates close to US$2.0 billion in cash from operations every year. This makes it a prime target to renew and upgrade its existing fleet of UDW rigs to take advantage of the latest uptrend in daily rates. Unfortunately, the Macondo event and its ensuing troubles will probably keep its share price depressed for the foreseeable future.
- South Korea: Samsung Yard Bags $ 600 Mln UDW Drillship Order (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Ultra Deepwater Drilling Poised to Take Advantage of Supply Demand Imbalance (fool.com)
- South Korea: Samsung Yard Bags $ 600 Mln UDW Drillship Order (appliedagrotech.net)
- Seadrill is Keeping the Lights on at Samsung Heavy with Seventh, and Eighth, New Drillship Order (gcaptain.com)
Statoil is stepping up its Arctic activities and will drill nine wells during a non-stop 2013 Norwegian Barents exploration campaign. The company plans to meet development challenges here by tripling its Arctic technology research budget.
Statoil’s exploration experience in the Barents is already extensive. Of the 94 exploration wells drilled in the Norwegian Barents Sea so far, Statoil has been involved in 89. Nine more Statoil-operated wells are on their way here next year.
“After our Skrugard and Havis discoveries we still see attractive opportunities here,” says Statoil Exploration executive vice president Tim Dodson.
“This is a less challenging area, as the Norwegian Barents is one of the only Arctic areas with a year-round ice-free zone. We also see the possibility of utilising knowledge gained here for Arctic prospects elsewhere later on – just like we’ve already done with Snøhvit.”
Statoil will start drilling in Nunatak in the Skrugard area in December, and will drill and complete four wells in this area over a six-month period.
“These wells are time critical, as any additional resources will make the Skrugard development even more robust,” says Dodson.
The campaign will then continue with the drilling of two-three wells in the Hoop frontier exploration area further north in the Barents in the summer of 2013. These will be the northernmost wells ever drilled in Norway.
The 2013 Barents drilling campaign finishes in the most mature province of the Barents: the Hammerfest basin. Statoil will carry out growth exploration close to the existing Snøhvit and Goliat discoveries here.
Arctic drilling unit
In addition to increasing its drilling activities, Statoil has created a technology road map to prepare for activities in even harsher Arctic areas.
- A tripling of the current Arctic research budget – from NOK 80 million (in 2012) to NOK 250 million (in 2013)
- A research cruise to north east Greenland in September
- The maturing of an Arctic drill unit concept
Some of the technology highlights include work to allow for cost-effective 3D seismic for exploration prospect evaluation in ice, and the continuing development of a tailor-made, Arctic drill unit.
The work on the future drilling unit is based on Statoil’s experience with developing specialised category rigs for the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).
The unit will be one that can operate in a wide range of water depths across the Arctic, and will involve integrated operations in drifting ice.
Functions here are to include a management system to reduce ice impact, an optimised drilling package for faster drilling and increased rig availability, and solutions to ensure that the rig maintains its position. At present no robust solution for dynamic positioning dedicated for ice operation exists.
“When we see a technology need, we try to fill the gap ourselves. We have now directed our strategic focus towards developing technology for exploration and production in ice. A new dedicated unit has been established to solve these challenges,” says Statoil Technology, Projects and Drilling executive vice president Margareth Øvrum.
Capacity is key
“We’ve secured a five-year contract for Seadrill‘s West Hercules drilling rig. The rig is currently being prepared for Arctic conditions, and can be used to drill consecutively in the region for years to come,” Dodson says.
Broad exploration experience in the Barents Sea and available rig capacity make Statoil well prepared for the 22nd licence round on the NCS. Applications are due in early December, while the awarding of new licences will take place in spring 2013. Seventy-two blocks in the Barents will be on offer.
“The Skrugard discovery has reignited interest in the Barents. A number of major companies that had left the area will be looking to make their way back in. The competition will be fierce, but we’ve built up a strong track record here, and our application will reflect this,” Dodson says.
- Chinese icebreaker continues Arctic voyage (shippingtribune.com)
- Shell’s drilling rig begins two-week trek to Arctic sea (fuelfix.com)