Equinor Books Vela Drillship from Aquadrill for Gulf of Mexico Drilling

Bartolomej Tomic
Friday, July 16, 2021

Aquadrill, a drilling company formerly known as Seadrill Partners, said Thursday it had secured a one-well contract with Equinor for the Vela drilling rig in the US Gulf of Mexico. 

"The rig will be managed and operated by Seadrill Limited. The total contract value for the firm portion of the contract is expected to be $55 million and the contract is expected to commence in October 2021 and run until April 2022," said Aquadrill in a statement released through a newswire.

The Vela, thus far known as the West Vela, is a sixth-generation drillship with operational history in the U.S Gulf of Mexico. It was built in 2013 by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea.

Offshore Engineer has reached out to Aquadrill, a company of which there is little information available online, and which doesn't have its own website - not a functional one at least - seeking more info about the company itself. We've also contacted Seadrill for more info, and we'll update the article with any response we may receive.

In the original version of this article, we said there was a possibility that Aquadrill Offshore was Seadrill Partners' new name, as the new company seems to have "inherited" the newswire account previously used by Seadrill Partners.  This has now been confirmed by a Seadril spokesperson who said Aquadrill Offshore was indeed Seadrill Partner's new name.

Seadrill Partners, an affiliate of offshore drilling firm Seadrill, in May emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy for which it had filed in December 2020.

The company at the time said it had successfully completed its reorganization, turning around $2.8 billion in funded debt obligations into equity, and leaving the company debt-free on emergence.

As part of the reorganization plan, new management services agreements were entered into for the management of the company's offshore drilling rigs, and a transition services agreement was agreed to with the company's prior manager "that provides for a safe and efficient transition."

Worth noting, Seadrill's company description also no longer includes Seadrill Partners, but it does include Aquadrill: "Seadrill Limited owns 34 drilling rigs and we manage 11 rigs on behalf of SeaMex, Northern Ocean, Sonadrill and Aquadrill Offshore."


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