Ultra-deepwater drives demand

Global demand for ultra-deepwater drilling units remains high with new contracts attracting high day rates, according to Fred. Olsen Energy.

The firm, which operates a fleet of seven deepwater and mid-water drilling rigs, says growth in the ultra-deepwater segment is expected continue, driven by development work on proven resources.

Activity in the deepwater and mid-water segment has been “stable”, said the firm, with the North Sea offering the strongest demand, due to few available rigs in coming years.

In the Norwegian sector, activity is high, with continued demand for both exploration and development projects, but with few available rigs before 2015.

Average dayrates for semisubmersibles offshore Norway is between US$480,000 for third generation units and US$620,000 for fifth and sixth generation units.

The UK has become a more long term market, instead of the spot-orientated market only a few years ago, said Fred. Olsen Energy. Fred. Olsen Energy’s own average contract duration is currently about 33 months.

The firm’s semisubmersible Blackford Dolphin is due to enter the North Sea market in 2014, after demobilizing from Brazil, to drill offshore Ireland and in the North Sea.

Transocean’s J W McLean is also due to enter the North Sea, later this year, after a number of years being cold stacked in the Cromarty Firth, Scotland.

Average UK dayrates are between US$380,000 for second generation units and close to US$500,000 for fourth generation units.

Globally, rates for deepwater units range from below US300,000 for 3000-4000ft deep capability vessels, to just under US$600,000 for 7500ft deep and above units.

“The global market outlook remains positive for floating units, supported by increasing long-term demand for oil and sustainable oil prices,” says Fred. Olsen Energy.

Fred. Olsen Energy owns two deepwater drilling units and five mid-water semisubmersible drilling rigs, three of which operate offshore Norway.

It also has two newbuilds under construction by Hyundai Heavy Industries; one ultra deepwater drillship, scheduled to be delivered in 4Q 2013, and one ultra-deepwater harsh environment semi-submersible, scheduled to be delivered in 1Q 2015. 

Image: The Blackford Dolphin

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