Global offshore drilling activity remained stable in the third week of 2021, with 325 jack-up rigs and 106 floaters under contract
The number of contracted floaters – drillships, semi-submersibles and other drilling rigs used for deepwater exploration and production, rose one unit week-on-week, according to Westwood Global Energy’s RigLogix.
Brent crude oil futures for March were trading at US$55.86 per barrel on 19 January. Brent crude has risen steadily since 1 March 2020 when it closed at US$22.74.
Despite the rise in the price of oil, energy majors are anticipating another challenging year, with tighter E&P budgets.
Shell just announced it would cut 300 jobs – about 25% of its workforce – from its North Sea operations, mostly from its Aberdeen offices, over the next two years. Hit by Covid, the slump in oil and the transition to a lower carbon economy, Shell plans to cut between 7,000 and 9,000 jobs worldwide by 2022.
High interest in NCS
Exploration and production in the North Sea, however, is not disappearing. High interest was reported by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in its latest licensing round. It announced on 19 January that it had awarded 61 production licences on the Norwegian continental shelf in the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea. Those oil companies with at least 10 licences were Lundin with 19, Equinor 17, Wintershall DEA, Var Energi, 10, Aker BP 10, and DNO 10.
Rig contracts for Suriname
Among the recent notable floater contracts confirmed was one between Maersk Drilling and Total E&P Suriname for the deepwater rigs Maersk Valiant and Maersk Developer. Both rigs will begin an exploration and appraisal project in Suriname’s Block 58.
Combined, the two floaters will be employed for about 500 days.
Maersk Developer is expected to commence operations this month, followed by Maersk Valiant in March 2021. The total value of the firm contracts is approximately US$100M, including rig modifications, integrated services provided, and a mobilisation fee for Maersk Valiant. The contracts include various extension options.
“We’re happy to add to our presence in the exciting Suriname-Guyana basin and will be able to leverage the fact that Maersk Developer is already operating offshore Suriname to quickly startup operations including provision of a range of integrated services to maximise efficiency,” said Maersk Drilling chief operating officer Morten Kelstrup.
A DSS-21 column-stabilised dynamically positioned semi-submersible rig, Maersk Developer can to operate in water depths up to 3,000 m. It was delivered in 2009 and is currently mobilising for the Total campaign after recently completing a contract offshore Suriname.
A high-specification seventh-generation drillship with integrated managed pressure drilling capability, Maersk Valiant is currently warm-stacked in Aruba after finishing a campaign offshore Mexico in June 2020.
It was not all good news for Maersk Drilling. Dana Petroleum Denmark issued an early termination notice for a one-well contract that would have run 110 days. The driller expects to receive an unspecified early termination fee. The original contract value was reported as US$11.6M.
Riviera Maritime Media will hold a series of 45-minute webinars during Offshore Webinar week commencing 19 January 2021. Sign up to attend here