Blackford Dolphin rig; Source: Dolphin Drilling

Dolphin Drilling breaks off rig deal with Nigerian oil & gas firm

Offshore drilling contractor Dolphin Drilling has decided to end a rig contract with Lagos-based General Hydrocarbons Limited (GHL) due to the Nigerian oil and gas player’s failure to comply with the established payment plan regarding the work one of the drilling firm’s semi-submersible rigs has been undertaking off the coast of Nigeria.

Blackford Dolphin rig; Source: Dolphin Drilling

Following a letter of award (LoA) for the Blackford Dolphin semi-sub rig in September 2022, Dolphin Drilling secured the formal 12-month contract award with General Hydrocarbons Limited in October 2022 for drilling operations in Nigeria. The rig began the drilling assignment in March 2023.

The offshore drilling contractor disclosed in November 2023 that GHL’s past due payments represented a net $17.3 million, along with a part payment from General Hydrocarbons Limited and a proposed payment plan related to the remaining past due payments. In 2024, the company received two installments.

After the two companies struck a deal to enable the drilling player to receive payment of all sums due under the contract and allow the Lagos-based company to continue to utilize the Blackford Dolphin rig for an agreed period, the rig was expected to continue operations for GHL.

Once the work was completed, the Blackford Dolphin semi-sub was slated to depart Nigeria and go to India to embark on its new drilling campaign with Oil India Limited. Given the expected credit loss against sums due from one customer of $42.6 million, Dolphin Drilling has now issued a notice of termination to General Hydrocarbons Limited.

“The terms for payment under the agreement with GHL have not been met, and the company therefore confirms that it has, in accordance with the agreement, today issued a notice of termination to GHL. The company will now prepare the Blackford Dolphin for transit to India in the near term and intends to pursue the recovery of sums remaining due by GHL,” outlined Dolphin Drilling.

The 1974-built Blackford Dolphin is a semi-submersible drilling rig of an enhanced Aker H-3 design and can accommodate 120 people. With the sale of its Bideford Dolphin rig out of the way, Dolphin Drilling owns a fleet of four high technical standard fourth and fifth-generation enhanced Aker H3 and H4 units: Borgland Dolphin, Blackford Dolphin, Paul B. Loyd, Jr., and Dolphin Leader.