Stena Evolution drillship; Source: Stena Drilling

Evolution comes to Stena Drilling fleet: Newest drillship goes to Gulf of Mexico to start its inaugural job with Shell

UK-based offshore drilling contractor Stena Drilling has welcomed the arrival of the latest addition to its fleet of drilling rigs, the Stena Evolution. This seventh-generation ultra-deepwater drillship is now on its way to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where it is slated to kick off its five-year assignment with Shell in 2Q 2024.

Stena Evolution drillship; Source: Stena Drilling

Shell inked a five-year deal with Stena Drilling for the Stena Evolution drillship in May 2023. The drillship, which has now joined Stena Drilling’s rig fleet, is expected to start its first-ever drilling program in the second quarter of 2024 in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico for a primary term of five years, with an option to extend the contract upon completion of the primary term.

“Exciting news! A major milestone for Stena Drilling as Stena Evolution joins our fleet and sets sail on an epic journey to the Gulf of Mexico for her first campaign,” outlined the offshore drilling player.

𝔼𝕧𝕠𝕝𝕦𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟 𝕘𝕖𝕥𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕊𝕥𝕖𝕟𝕒 𝔻𝕣𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕓𝕒𝕔𝕜 𝕥𝕠 𝕥𝕠𝕡-𝕥𝕚𝕖𝕣

Stena Drilling unveiled the name and colors of the Stena Evolution rig via social media channels in March 2022, describing it as a seventh-generation operation-oriented enhanced ultra-deepwater DP3 drillship capable of operating in water depths up to 12,000 ft and drilling depths up to 40,000 ft.

This came after Stena revealed its intention to buy a drillship from Samsung while the initial news about the drillship sale came from the shipbuilder in early December 2021, when it confirmed the agreement to sell the drillship to the then-unnamed European company for a price tag of $245 million.

The order for the drillship was originally placed by Ocean Rig, which ordered two drillships, Ocean Rig Santorini and Ocean Rig Crete, in 2013 and 2014. After some delays, the drillships were expected to be delivered in 3Q 2019 and 3Q 2020, respectively.

However, Ocean Rig was acquired by Transocean before the delivery was able to take place. Since Transocean canceled the orders in September 2019, the drillships were never delivered. The fate of the other, former Ocean Rig drillship, Santorini, was similar, as Samsung Heavy delivered it to Saipem back in November 2021 and the Italian player exercised the option to buy the rig in December 2022.

Recently, Stena Drilling disclosed that one of its drillships was en route to Las Palmas to start its special period survey (SPS). The company looks forward to the rig’s return to Guyana, where it will continue its current drilling campaign. 

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