Atwood Oceanics Orders Third Ultra-Deepwater Drillship

An illustration of the Atwood Achiever ultra-deepwater drillship. Image: Atwood Oceanics

Just hours after announcing a 3-year contract with Noble for its newbuild Atwood Advantage drillship, Houston-based Atwood Oceanics, Inc. (NYSE: ATW) says that it has entered into a contract with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. (“DSME”) for the construction of a third ultra-deepwater drillship at the DSME yard in South Korea. The drillship, to be named Atwood Admiral, is expected to be delivered by March 31, 2015 at a total cost of approximately $635 million.

The design of the Atwood Admiral will be identical to the previously ordered Atwood Advantage and Atwood Achiever – all three are DP-3 dynamically-positioned, dual derrick ultra-deepwater drillships rated to operate in water depths up to 12,000 feet and drill to a depth of up to 40,000 feet. The Atwood Admiral will also offer two seven-ram BOPs, three 100-ton knuckle boom cranes, a 165-ton active heave “tree-running” knuckle boom crane, and accommodations for up to 200 persons.

Rob Saltiel, the company’s President and CEO, commented, “We are pleased to continue our growth strategy through the exercising of our option with DSME shipyard, and we look forward to the Atwood Admiral joining our high-specification, ultra-deepwater drilling fleet. This rig’s state-of-the-art capabilities, and the synergies that result from adding a third drillship based on the same design, make this a solid platform for extending Atwood’s market position in ultra-deepwater drilling.”

Today’s order was placed on an option that was set to expire on September 30, 2012 and, in connection with the exercise, the company has also secured an option to construct a fourth ultra-deepwater drillship at a similar cost to the Atwood Admiral and with an expected delivery in December 2015, which requires commitment by June 30, 2013.

Upon delivery, the Atwood Admiral will become the sixteenth mobile offshore drilling unit owned by the company.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Atwood Oceanics, Inc. is an international offshore drilling contractor engaged in the drilling and completion of exploratory and developmental oil and gas wells. The company currently owns 11 mobile offshore drilling units and is constructing three ultra-deepwater drillships and two high-specification jackups. The company was founded in 1968 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ATW.”