Hamilton, Bermuda - Seadrill continues to see strong demand for modern ultra-deepwater drilling rigs driven by high oil prices and large deep-water discoveries and increased development drilling. Specific interest, mainly from operators in West Africa and the Americas, demonstrate a trend towards higher day rates and longer term contracts.
With yard costs at very attractive levels and Seadrill’s proven track record with respect to successful new build construction the Company is pleased to announce the order of a sixth drillship from Samsung Heavy Industries with delivery in the second quarter of 2014. The expected total project cost is less than USD $600 million, in line with the 5 units under construction and with delivery in 2013 and 2014. The yard contract was originally between a party related to Seadrill’s major shareholder Hemen Holding and Samsung, as part of a larger shipyard deal, but Seadrill has been given the right to take over the contract at original terms.
Seadrill’s current new build program now includes 17 units: 6 ultra deep-water drillships, 1 harsh environment semi submersible, 5 tender rigs and 5 jack ups, all to be delivered in the period from Q4 2012 to Q1 2015. In addition, Seadrill has received a fixed price option for a further ultra deep-water drillship. The six drillships under construction are of the same design and will have a hook load capability of 1,250 tons and a water depth capacity of up to 12,000 feet targeting operations in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West and East Africa. Also, these units will be outfitted with seven ram configuration of the Blow out Preventer (BOP) stack and with storing and handling capacity for a second BOP.
CEO of Seadrill Alf Thorkildsen comments:
“With the available capacity in 2013 and 2014 Seadrill is uniquely positioned among its peers to take advantage of strong demand for drilling services with high dayrates and longer charter contracts. We will continue to aggressively build Seadrill’s earnings and further expansion of the building program is expected in the months to come. Together, these developments provide for continued value creation and an increased dividend capacity.”
Coincidentally, Seadrill also announced today the receipt of a letter of award for a new three year contract for a semi-submersible to operate offshore West Africa with a reputable oil company, starting in the second quarter of 2013.
The total potential contract revenue based on 97% utilisation is estimated to approximately USD 710 millions and includes a performance bonus arrangement. The letter of award is subject to final approval by the charterers Board to be lifted no later than May 16th.
Seadrill total order backlog is after this increased to approximately USD $13.3 billion.