VIDEO: Turkey's TPAO Takes Delivery of Cobalt Explorer Drillship

Turkey's national oil and gas company TPAO has taken delivery of its new, seventh generation drillship, the Cobalt Explorer, acquired from the South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine and Engineering.

The acquisition of the Cobalt Explorer has expanded TPAO's drillship fleet to four units, adding to the three sixth-generation drillships, Fatih, Yavuz, and Kanuni (previously known as Sertao).

Turkish energy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey, Fatih Dönmez confirmed recently that the drillship had arrived in Turkey. He said the drillship would undergo a two-month preparation period at Taşucu Port, after which it would start its first drilling operations.

According to VesselsValue, DSME sold the Cobalt Explorer to TPAO in November 2021 for $180 million.

Back in October 2019, Northern Drilling canceled a resale contract for the 7th generation ultra-deepwater drillship West Cobalt, which had been scheduled for delivery from DSME in 2021.

Worth noting, the drillship was first ordered by Vantage Drilling for scheduled delivery in 2015, but the order was canceled. John Fredriksen's Northern Drilling then exercised a $350 million option to acquire the drillship in April 2019, only to cancel the order in 2019, citing "various reasons including repudiatory breach of contract by DSME."

The new owner, TPAO, will be hoping that the Cobalt Explorer will be able to replicate the drilling results of the Fatih drillship, which last year found 405 bcm of natural gas in the western Black Sea region's Sakarya field, in the country's biggest ever offshore discovery.

Homepage photo credit: V. Tonic/

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