Seadrill continues to see strong demand for modern ultra-deepwater (UDW) drilling rigs driven by high oil prices and large deep-water discoveries and increased development drilling. Specific interest, mainly from operators in West Africa and the Americas, demonstrate a trend towards higher day rates and longer term contracts.
With yard costs at very attractive levels and Seadrill’s proven track record with respect to successful new build construction the Company today announced the order of a sixth drillship from Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) with delivery in the second quarter of 2014. The expected total project cost is less than USD600 million, in line with the 5 units under construction and with delivery in 2013 and 2014. The yard contract was originally between a party related to Seadrill’s major shareholder Hemen Holding and Samsung, as part of a larger shipyard deal, but Seadrill has been given the right to take over the contract at original terms.
Seadrill’s current new build program now includes 17 units: 6 ultra deep-water drillships, 1 harsh environment semi submersible, 5 tender rigs and 5 jack ups, all to be delivered in the period from Q4 2012 to Q1 2015. In addition, Seadrill has received a fixed price option for a further ultra deep-water drillship. The six drillships under construction are of the same design 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 Blow out Preventer (BOP) stack and with storing and handling capacity for a second BOP.
CEO of Seadrill Alf Thorkildsen says:
“With the available capacity in 2013 and 2014 Seadrill is uniquely positioned among its peers to take advantage of strong demand for drilling services with high dayrates and longer charter contracts. We will continue to aggressively build Seadrill’s earnings and further expansion of the building program is expected in the months to come. Together, these developments provide for continued value creation and an increased dividend capacity.”
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Pacific Drilling S.A. via its wholly-owned subsidiary last week exercised an option to construct its seventh ultra-deepwater drillship with Samsung Heavy Industries.
“We are very pleased to announce the order of our seventh ultra-deepwater drillship,” stated Pacific Drilling CEO Chris Beckett. “The current strength we see in the market for ultra-deepwater rigs well into 2014 led us to act on this opportunity to order a rig with very favorable delivery timing.”
The drillship will have a rated water depth of 12,000 feet, be equipped for 40,000 feet drilling depth, have accommodation for 200 personnel and be equipped to support dual gradient drilling. The total cost, excluding capitalized interest, will be approximately $600 million and delivery is scheduled for May 2014.
Financing for the construction of this rig is expected to be provided by a combination of the company’s recent bond offering, cash flows from ongoing operations and long-term debt.
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