Ocean Rig’s ultra deepwater drillship OCEAN RIG OLYMPIA

DryShips Inc. has announced that its subsidiary, Ocean Rig UDW Inc., has exercised its third newbuilding option to construct a 7th Generation Ultra Deepwater Drillship at Samsung Heavy Industries for $608 million. This 7th generation drillship is a sister ship to the two previously-exercised options in April 2011.

Like its sister ships, this newbuild will be capable of drilling in 12,000 feet of water depth and will be equipped with a seven ram BOP, a dual mud system, enhanced riser handling and storage system and  ballast water treatment system.

“The demand for ultradeepwater drilling units is strengthening every day and we see substantial growth in the next several years from across the globe, said Dryships CEO, George Economou.  “By exercising our third option for delivery in 2013 we are in a unique position to take advantage of the positive market fundamentals. The attractive price and payment terms allows us sufficient time to increase the backlog and arrange financing on attractive terms.”

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Pacific Drilling S.A. has said that one of its subsidiaries has reached an agreement with Samsung Heavy Industries to extend until October 31, 2011 an option to construct a seventh ultra-deepwater drillship.

In addition to three ultra-deepwater drillships delivered to date, Pacific Drilling expects delivery of an additional drillship in August 2011 and has two drillships on order at Samsung for delivery during 2013.

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