Fleet expansion with two Transocean rigs represents harbinger of growth for Dolphin Drilling

Offshore drilling contractor Dolphin Drilling regards its acquisition of two semi-submersible rigs from Transocean as the herald of further growth not just in the UK but also on the global stage.

Paul B. Loyd Jr. rig; Source: Transocean

Dolphin Drilling revealed in late June 2023 its intention to buy the Paul B. Loyd Jr. and Transocean Leader rigs from Transocean for a total of $61.5 million, plus an additional $3 million. The company embarked on a private placement of approximately $60 million to finance the acquisition of these two rigs. This acquisition is slated to be closed during the second half of 2023.

Commenting on the deal to add these rigs to Dolphin Drilling’s fleet, Stephen Cox, Dolphin Drilling’s Chief Financial Officer, explained: “We are very focused on growing the Dolphin Drilling platform in a responsible and strategic manner, to serve the customer base, create and sustain employment opportunities, and benefit our wider stakeholder groups.

“We firmly believe this transaction not only achieves those aims but also cements our position as a provider of fit-for-purpose mobile offshore units, capable of delivering for customers in the many phases of work critical to support the energy infrastructure of the UK and other key markets.”

The 1987-built Transocean Leader Aker H-4.2 non-self-propelled semi-sub rig had significant upgrades in 1997 and 2012. With a maximum drilling depth of 25,000 ft, it can accommodate 110 people. This rig has been stacked in the UK’s Cromarty Firth since 2020.

On the other hand, the 1990-built Paul B. Loyd Jr. rig is of Aker H 4.2 design and was constructed at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. It can accommodate 120 people and can operate in water depths of 1,969 ft. The rig’s maximum drilling depth is 20,000 ft and it is currently working for Harbour Energy in the UK.

Thanks to a recent LOI for a three-year extension of the firm contract period, the rig’s assignment with Harbour is expected to be prolonged until September 2027. The existing firm contract plus the new extended commitment represents an estimated contracted revenue backlog of $279 million. In addition, Harbour has a further five one-year extension options at its disposal for future projects.

Bjørnar Iversen, CEO of Dolphin Drilling, remarked: “We are really looking forward to working close together with Harbour on the Paul B. Lloyd Jr. in the UK. This creates a solid fundament for further growth in the UK and internationally.”