With signs of economic improvement and Brent crude oil futures topping US$60, returning to pre-pandemic levels, global offshore drilling activity edged up in week seven 2021
With Brent crude oil futures for April contracts reaching US$62.64 per barrel on 15 February, the active global offshore jack-up drilling fleet edged up one to 326 units week-on-week, while contracted floaters rose two to 106, according to Westwood Global Energy’s RigLogix.
Among recent notable floater contracts in the Americas, NYSE-listed Transocean reported Brazilian oil company Petrobras exercised contract options for Deepwater Corcovado and Deepwater Mykonos to continue drilling in Brazil until 2023. With the 680-day option, Deepwater Corcovado will operate under an estimated day rate of US$194,000 until July 2023. Meanwhile, Deepwater Mykonos will earn a day rate of US$213,000 under an 815-day option until August 2023.
Norwegian offshore support vessel (OSV) owner Solstad Offshore will support ExxonMobil’s drilling activities in Brazil under a frame agreement. Under the three-year deal, Solstad will supply OSVs, with the platform supply vessel (PSV) Normand Swift being the first to go on hire to Exxon for three months. The PSV began operations in December. ExxonMobil has just spudded its Opal-1 wildcat in the Campos Basin with Seadrill’s sixth-generation ultra-deepwater drill ship West Saturn.
Additionally, Transocean’s semi-submersible Development Driller III will be active in Trinidad until at least June 2021 with a one-well contract, plus a one-well option from Shell, following its extension from another customer.
One of the largest E&P players in India, Reliance exercised a seven-well option for Dhirubhai Deepwater KG1, while Deepwater Nautilus has been idle since December after termination of its drilling contract in Malaysia.
In the UK North Sea, Paul B Loyd, Jr. has received a 78-day contract extension from Chryasaor.
Contracts for the semi-submersibles Transocean Norge and Transocean Barents were secured for campaigns in Norway. MOL Norge will pay a day rate of US$270,000 to secure Transocean Barents for a three-well contract until December 2021.
Equinor Energy has exercised the option to add development drilling of one additional well at the Martin Linge field offshore Norway to the work scope of the hybrid low-emissions rig Maersk Intrepid. Maersk Drilling reported the contract has an estimated duration of 80 days, with work expected to commence in September 2021 in direct continuation of the rig’s current workscope. The contract value of the extension is approximately US$29.5M, including integrated services provided, but excluding potential performance bonuses.
Equinor and Maersk Drilling are collaborating on using technology and other initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from operations. Maersk Intrepid was the first of Maersk Drilling’s rigs to be upgraded to a hybrid, low-emissions rig. Maersk Intrepid, in late 2020, produced an initial data point of reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions during drilling operations by approximately 25%, compared to the baseline average for the rig, while NOx emissions were reduced by approximately 95%. The contract with Equinor Energy contains a performance bonus scheme based on rewarding reduced CO2 and NOx emissions.
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