Esgian Week 6 Report: New Contracts and a New JV

© Lukasz Z / Adobe Stock
© Lukasz Z / Adobe Stock

Esgian has released its Week 6 Rig Analytics Market Roundup saying that several new contracts have been confirmed across three major types of offshore drilling rigs and an interesting new joint venture between an operator and a rig owner has been announced.

Report overview:

COSL Drilling’s 4,921-ft semisub COSLProspector has reached the Norwegian coast following a nearly four-month-long journey from China, thereby increasing the North Sea region’s rig count by one unit at a time when it's experiencing a reduced semisub supply.


Shell, the operator of Licences P2437 and P2252 in the UK North Sea, has signed a rig contract with Valaris for the drilling of both the Selene exploration well and the Pensacola appraisal well.

TotalEnergies and drilling contractor Vantage Drilling have signed a binding agreement to create a new joint venture that will acquire the 12,000-ft drillship Tungsten Explorer from Vantage Drilling.

Diamond Offshore Drilling has secured contracts for two of its floating rigs, one in the Gulf of Mexico and the other in the North Sea.

ADES has received notifications of extension for three of its jackup rigs operating offshore Egypt.

Drilling Activity and Discoveries

Following its recent agreement for the use of Transocean's 10,000-ft semisub Transocean Barents, OMV Petrom is continuing preparations to spud the first well in its Neptun Deep project in the Romanian waters of the Black Sea in 2025.

Speaking at the company’s Q4 2023 results presentation, Shell CEO Wael Sawan stated that there is “no question around the volume of the resource” offshore Namibia and that the company planned to drill “a couple” of wells offshore Namibia in the coming months as it searches for “the sweet spots” within the resource to create opportunities for development.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) has issued Significant Discovery Licence 1060 to Equinor Canada Ltd., following on from Equinor’s Cambriol G-92 discovery in 2020.

The Norwegian Offshore Directorate (NOD) has granted Neptune Energy Norge a drilling permit for a wildcat well in the North Sea offshore Norway. The well 36/7-5 S is located in production licence 636, which is operated by Neptune in partnership with INPEX Idemitsu Norge, PGNiG Upstream Norway, and Sval Energi.

TotalEnergies has begun production from the Akpo West field on the PML2 license offshore Nigeria.

Chinese oil firm CNOOC has started production at the Suizhong 36-1/Luda 5-2 Oilfield Secondary Adjustment and Development Project in Liaodong Bay of the Bohai Sea.

TotalEnergies confirmed that the Mangetti-1X exploration well in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia had encountered hydrocarbons, though CEO Patrick Pouyanné said the find was “not huge.”

Norwegian operator Aker BP’s current plans entail drilling 10 to 15 exploration wells per year, with a target of net 250 mmboe from 2022 to 2027.


TotalEnergies has FEED in progress for the Sapakara South and Krabdagu oil hub development offshore Suriname and is targeting a final investment decision by the end of 2024. A 200,000 b/d development is under study, with first oil expected in 2028.

Norwegian operator OKEA has confirmed that its final investment decision (FID) for the Brasse project in the North Sea off Norway is coming soon.

Three bidders offering four rigs participated in ONGC's four-jackup tender, three for Category I and one for Category II. For Category I, Shelf Drilling offered the 300-ft Trident XII, Dynamic Drilling offered the 328-ft Victory Driller, and Greatship offered the 350-ft Greatdrill Chaaya. For Category II, Shelf Drilling offered the 300-ft J.T. Angel.

Mobilisation/Rig Moves

Following SPS-related works, Stena Drilling’s 1,640-ft semisub Stena Don is leaving a yard in Norway and returning to the UK North Sea to continue working for Shell.

Energy Drilling's barge-type self-erecting tender-assisted drilling rig T-16 has arrived at Crystal Offshore's Singapore yard to undergo upgrade and activation works before its contract.

Vantage Drilling 375-ft jackup Topaz Driller is expected to complete its two-well contract with Foxtrot offshore Cote D’Ivoire in March 2024, after which the rig will leave the region for contract preparations in Southeast Asia.

Noble 12,000-ft drillship Noble Valiant has begun work for LLOG in the US GOM. LLOG is using the rig to drill a development well at Keathley Canyon Block 686 in around 6,147 ft of water.

Diamond Offshore 10,000-ft semisubmersible Ocean GreatWhite lost its lower marine riser package (LMRP) while working for bp in the West of Shetland area of the UK. Diamond Offshore is working with bp and local authorities in response to the incident and planning efforts to recover the equipment from the seabed.

Due to a storm in Norway, Transocean’s 1,640-ft Cat D rig Transocean Encourage has recently lost its position and drifted for miles in the Norwegian Sea.

Other News

Dolphin Drilling has received a further $3 million payment from Nigerian company General Hydrocarbons Limited (GHL), bringing the total collected on past due payments for work with the 6,000-ft semisubmersible Blackford Dolphin to $5.5 million.

The deployment of a second BOP on the 12,000-ft drillship Deep Value Driller has been delayed but “will be taken care of as soon as possible,” according to rig owner Deep Value Driller AS (DVD).

India is planning to invest about 67 billion dollars in the next 5–6 years to increase the percentage of gas in the country’s primary energy mix.

Norwegian oil and gas company DNO ASA has entered into an agreement for its subsidiary DNO Exploration UK to acquire a 25% interest in the Arran field in the UK North Sea from ONE-Dyas E&P Limited.

Deltic Energy has entered into an agreement for the farm-out of a 25% interest in the Shell-operated Licence P2437 in the UK North Sea, containing the Selene Prospect, to Dana Petroleum.

Australian oil and gas firms Woodside and Santos said Wednesday they had stopped discussions over a potential merger.

Baron Oil's subsidiary SundaGas has completed the farm-up deal for the Chuditch PSC offshore Timor-Leste with Timor GAP.

Eldorado Drilling has secured $275 million in senior secured debt financing. Net proceeds from the transaction will be used to finance the delivery of the 12,000-ft newbuild drillship Zonda, contract readiness costs, working capital and general corporate purposes.

Eni wants to establish a production hub in the East Kalimantan region of Indonesia.

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