Global offshore drilling activity hit peak levels during week 15 2021, with the number of contracted jack-up rigs and floaters reaching 442 as Brent oil remained trading in the mid-US$60 range
According to Westwood Global Energy’s RigLogix, Africa and southeast Asia-Australia each recorded upticks of one jack-up rig for week 15 2021, with Europe, North and South America shallow-water activity remaining unchanged. The Middle East and the rest of the world each recorded losses of a single unit, leaving the active offshore jack-up drilling fleet unchanged at 330 week-on-week.
Brent crude oil futures for June contracts were up US$0.33 to US$63.31 at 14:14 EDT, according to Bloomberg.
“Overall, the structure of the Brent price is still in a slightly bullish ’backwardation’, as the short-term hesitancy over Covid-19 spikes are offset by long-term hopes of vaccine campaigns doing their job and economies returning to normal, some as early as summer,” said Rystad Energy oil markets analyst Louise Dickson.
Optimism has been injected into the oil market as a result of the Biden Administration’s plans to spend big on infrastructure, bolstered by progress seen in US vaccinations.
Still, the virus overhangs the global recovery, with Brazil and India struggling and European countries not out of the woods yet. Noted Ms Dickson, “Despite today’s uptick, the price signals are a messy mix. Strong growth is coming in the future, but the virus is still a very real threat in the here and now. Europe is still very much in the trenches – from France announcing a three-week school closure to the UK keeping a ban on foreign travel in place for now.”
Meanwhile, supported by growing momentum in the North Sea, the total active floater fleet reached 112 units, a high for 2021 and up one vessel week-on-week. Drilling activity in Europe and North America rose one unit each, while South America, southeast Asia and Australia and Middle East all remained unchanged for the week. Outside of those regions, floater activity fell one unit, according to RigLogix.
Maersk Drilling reeled in two separate contracts for drill ships, one for drilling in West Africa offshore Ghana and the other in Malaysia.
Under a four-year contract worth US$370M, Maersk Drilling’s Maersk Venturer is beginning a campaign this month for Tullow Ghana Ltd. The ultra-deepwater drill ship will be used for a development drilling campaign at the TEN and Jubilee fields offshore Ghana. Maersk Drilling could earn performance bonuses.
The contract has a progressive day rate structure for the full duration. However, the contract contains certain provisions which, after an initial period of 18 months, permit a shift to a market-linked day rate structure and early termination for convenience by Tullow Ghana Ltd.
A high-spec, seventh-generation drill ship, Maersk Venturer is currently operating at the Jubilee field offshore Ghana.
In Malaysia, Maersk Drilling secured a contract with Shell Malaysia for the seventh-generation drill ship Maersk Viking to drill four development wells at the Gumusut-Kakap project offshore Malaysia. The contract is expected to commence in December 2021, with an estimated duration of 150 days. The firm contract value is about US$34M, including a mobilisation fee. The contract includes five additional one-well options for work offshore Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei Darussalam, where the drill ship is currently operating.
Vantage Drilling’s drill ship Platinum Explorer is under contract to ONGC India until 2023, while its Tungsten Explorer is warm stacked awaiting the start of a contract for Med-1 in Q4 2021.
It expects three of its previously stacked jack-up rigs, Topaz Driller, Sapphire Driller and Aquamarine Driller, to begin campaigns during H1 2021.
In mid-March, Vantage Drilling agreed to manage, operate and market two drill ships and two semi-submersibles for SeaDrill Partners, which is undergoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganisation. The deal – approved by the bankruptcy court – covers the drill ships West Polaris and West Capella and semi-submersibles West Sirius and West Leo.
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