COVID-19 Delays Total's South Africa Offshore Drilling Plans

May 19, 2020

Illustration: Deepsea Stavanger Rig / Image by BP p.l.c. - Flickr
Illustration: Deepsea Stavanger Rig / Image by BP p.l.c. - Flickr

French oil major Total has agreed with Odfjell Drilling to keep the Deepsea Stavanger offshore drilling rig idle for a while due to the COVID-19 situation.

Odfjell Drilling's semi-submersible drilling unit has a contract with Total to drill this year in South Africa. The rig, currently at a yard in Norway, was previously expected to start drilling in the block in the second quarter of the year, however, Africa Energy, Total's partner in the project recently said the drilling would begin in the third quarter.

In an update on Tuesday, Odfjell Drilling said the following that due to ongoing restrictions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Odfjell Drilling and Total South Africa have agreed that the semi-submersible Deepsea Stavanger will remain idle in Norway "for a period" prior to the mobilization of the rig. 

"Odfjell Drilling will be compensated by Total during this idle time," the Norwegian offshore drilling firm said.

Odfjell Drilling did not say for how long the rig was supposed to stay idle.

It said that once the idle period is complete the rig will mobilize to South Africa to start its charter as planned.  

"The idle agreement is a reflection of both Parties’ commitment to proceed with the South Africa drilling program and shall provide the framework to navigate the current uncertainty," Odfjell Drilling said. 

The news comes just a week after the drilling company said it expected the market downturn to have a limited effect on Odfjell Drilling in the short to medium term "as we have firm contract backlog for our 6th generation harsh environment fleet to 2021/2022."

As for the rig in question, Total last year used the Deepsea Stavanger to drill the Brulpadda well, discovering a large gas/condensate deposit in the process.

After the Brulpadda, estimated by Rystad Energy to hold 500 mboe to 600mboe, the next well in line at the 11B/12B block is the Luiperd prospect.



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