Offshore drilling rig owner Northern Ocean said Wednesday that its Deepsea Mira semi-submersible drilling rig had kicked off its drilling contract with TotalEnergies in Namibia, where the French oil major last year made a giant oil discovery with its Venus-1x well.
Northern Ocean said that its "...high specification semisubmersible drilling rig, has safely completed the transit to Namibia and commenced drilling activities under its contract with a TotalEnergies subsidiary.
The drilling rig is owned by Northern Ocean and managed by the Norwegian drilling firm Odfjell Drilling.
The contract with TotalEnergies has a firm duration of 300 days. TotalEnergies has two extension options, which, if exercised, would keep the 2019-built rig busy through all of 2024.
"Now that the Deepsea Mira has successfully commenced operations, the company has mitigated exposure to mobilization, reactivation, and other pre-commencement risks. Additionally, the company has amended the credit facility with Sterna Finance Ltd. to provide a new tranche in the amount of $50 million with a three-month tenor. This provides the company with sufficient time to normalize working capital from both rigs," Northern Ocean said.
The company's second rig is the Deepsea Bollsta. The semi-submersible unit has a contract with Shell Namibia until June 2024.
Namibia was placed on the global oil and gas exploration map last year with two giant oil discoveries by TotalEnergies (Venus) and Shell (Graff). In March 2023, Shell discovered oil at the Jonker-1X deep-water exploration well in PEL-39 Exploration License, offshore Namibia.
Earlier this week, TotalEnergies was named the upstream industry's most admired explorer and has received the Discovery of the Year award in Wood Mackenzie's annual Exploration Survey. TotalEnergies also received the Discovery of the Year award for Venus offshore Namibia, in partnership with QatarEnergy, Impact Oil & Gas, and NAMCOR.
Maggy Shino, Petroleum Commissioner at Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, said this week that, in Namibia, “we have an ongoing drilling campaign with three rigs currently busy drilling appraisal and exploration wells. We are expecting two more wells to be drilled before the end of 2023 in the deep waters.”
According to African Energy Chamber, Shino said that Namibia country is seeing a rise in seismic surveys, and by the end of the year, the government is planning to announcement a series of drilling projects that will take place during 2024.
Shino also said that the country is seeing heightened interest from global players, "owing largely to Namibia’s attractive fiscal and regulatory environment."
She stated that, “as a country, there is a benefit of being a late comer because we have gained insights from other countries on how to maximize our [legislation].”