Malaysian national oil firm Petronas has awarded a 90-day contract for Noble Corporation's semi-submersible deepwater rig Noble Discoverer.
Petronas will use the Noble Discoverer to drill an exploration well in Block 52 offshore Suriname, where it is the operator with a 50% stake. ExxonMobil holds the other 50%.
The contract for the offshore drilling rig, previously known as Maersk Discoverer and renamed after a merger between Noble Corp and Maersk Drilling, is expected to begin in August 2023.
According to Noble Corporation, the firm contract value is approximately $43 million, including additional services provided, mobilization, and demobilization fees. The contract contains a one-well extension option.
Petronas made its first offshore discovery offshore Suriname in Block 52 in December 2020, using the Maersk Developer, now Noble Developer, semi-submersible drilling rig, while drilling the Sloanea-1 exploration well in the offshore block.
Block 52 covers an area of 4,749 km² with water depths ranging from 50 to 1,100 meters.
Commenting on the contract for the Noble Discoverer unit this week, Blake Denton, SVP of Marketing & Contracts at Noble Energy: "We are incredibly pleased to announce this contract building on the recent collaboration with Petronas. This near-term program positions the Noble Discoverer in the same block offshore Suriname where sister rig Noble Developer previously operated for Petronas. It also represents an opportunity to demonstrate Noble’s vast experience in this prolific basin prior to commencing the rig’s announced contract in Colombia later this year.”
The Noble Discoverer currently operates for offshore Guyana for CGX Resources Inc, where it recently discovered oil at the Wei-1 well, on the Corentyne block, approximately 200 kilometers offshore from Georgetown. CGX said late in June it expected to release the drilling rig in early July 2023
Following the contract with Petronas, the rig is scheduled to commence a one-well contract offshore Colombia with Ecopetrol, to drill the Orca North-1 exploration well. The contract is expected to start between November 2023 and January 2024, with an estimated duration of 72 days.
The rig was built by KFELS in Singapore in 2009. It can operate at a water depth of 10000 ft (3048 meters) and has a maximum drilling depth rating of 40,000ft (12192 meters).