Economou swapping drillship for tankers. Or not?

  • Business & Finance

In the past couple of days, several internet sources have suggested that George Economou, Greek shipowner and CEO of Dryships and Ocean Rig UDW, is in talks with Samsung to swap a drillship order for a batch of tankers.

Amid falling oil prices and oversupply in the offshore drilling rigs market, offshore drilling contractors are facing tough times securing new contracts as the oil companies have decided to pull breaks on exploration and cut spending, waiting for the oil price tide to turn.

Ocean Rig UDW owns and operates 13 offshore drilling rigs, eleven of which are ultra deepwater drillships, and two semi-submersible rigs. According to information on the company’s website, the company has four more drillships on order at the Samsung Heavy Industry yard in South Korea.

The first of the four scheduled for delivery is the Ocean Rig Apollo, which is, according to the company’s fleet status updates, only a few days away from being handed over by Samsung. Following the delivery, the unit will be used by French oil company Total offshore Congo.

Next in line for delivery is the Ocean Rig Santorini, which is yet to secure a contract. The ultra deepwater rig is slated to be handed over to Ocean Rig in June 2016. The “ultra-deepwater” designation means that a rig is capable of drilling in 7,500 feet of water or deeper.

The last two units, one of which is subject to the latest drillship/tankers swap speculation, are planned to be completed in 2017.

Swap, no swap?

According to TradeWinds, which cited anonymous sources, Economou is looking to get eight tankers in total, of which four suezmax and four aframax, in exchange for one drillship.

When contacted by Offshore Energy Today, J.B. Lowe, an analyst at Cowen, who is following Ocean Rig said: “I have been informed by an Ocean Rig spokesperson that the reports are incorrect. They are not in fact looking to swap any drillships for oil tankers.”

Offshore Energy Today did not manage to get a reply from Ocean Rig to an e-mail seeking comment at the time of the writing of this article.


Offshore Energy Today Staff

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