Ensco has exercised one of two options for an additional DP3 ultra-deepwater drillship with South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).
The vessel, ENSCO DS-9, will be the seventh Samsung DP-3 drillship to join the Ensco fleet and will be built at SHI’s shipyard in South Korea at a cost of $645m.
Based on the Samsung GF12000 hull design, the ultra-deepwater drillship will be 755ft long and 125ft wide and is scheduled to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2014.
It will offer a payload of more than 22,000t and will be equipped with a 1,250t hoisting system.
The vessel will be equipped to meet the demands of ultra-deepwater drilling in water depths of up to 12,000ft and a total vertical drilling depth of 40,000ft .
Like the ENSCO DS-8, which was ordered in April 2012 from SHI, the new drillship will include retractable thrusters, improved safety and environmental features, and enhanced dynamic positioning capabilities.
It will also feature new drilling and completion functionality, including below-main-deck riser storage, triple fluid systems, offline conditioning capability, as well as enhanced client third-party facilities.
Ensco chairman, president and CEO Dan Rabun said that the company’s decision to order two ultra-deepwater drillships over the past three months is based on detailed analysis of several important factors.
"The near-term supply of deepwater rigs is limited and we believe supply-demand dynamics will continue to support favourable day rates, which have risen sharply over the past year," Rabun said.
"Finally, the delivery schedule and financing terms support favourable returns for these incremental investments in our fleet."
The new drillship, which will be initially prepared for drilling in water depths of up to 10,000ft, will be equipped with dynamic positioning in compliance with DP3 certification, six-5.5 megawatt thrusters for improved station-keeping and expanded drilling fluids capacity.
Capable of accommodating up to 200 people, the vessel will also be equipped with a 15,000-psi subsea well control system with six rams, upgradable to seven rams and/or a second BOP stack and burner boom for well testing.
Ensco’s three DP3 drillships have been contracted until 2016 to work in the US Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West Africa.
ENSCO DS-6, the fourth drillship, is currently undergoing pre-commissioning modifications in preparation for its first well assignment under a five-year contract with BP.
The ENSCO DS-7 and ENSCO DS-8 are planned for delivery in the second quarter of 2013 and third quarter of 2014, respectively.
In addition, the company also has one remaining option for an additional drillship.