Photo: Auriga drillship; Source: Aquadrill

More time in Gulf of Mexico for Aquadrill drillship

Offshore drilling contractor Aquadrill, formerly known as Seadrill Partners, has extended the charter hire agreement with a subsidiary of Diamond Offshore Drilling for one of its drillships, which will continue to carry out operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Back in September 2021, Aquadrill entered into a charter hire agreement with Diamond’s subsidiary (the manager) to provide the Auriga drillship for operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Currently, Diamond Offshore manages two drillships – Auriga and Vela – on behalf of Aquadrill Offshore. The 2013-built Auriga has been working for BP in the Gulf of Mexico since the first quarter of 2022 with the firm period end date set for January 2023 after which an option is available from February 2023 until January 2024, according to Aquadrill’s fleet status report from July 2022.

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In an update on Thursday, Aquadrill revealed that it has extended the charter hire agreement for the Auriga drillship after reaching an agreement on the one-year mutually agreed option in the current underlying drilling contract.

Under the terms of the extension, the Auriga drillship, which is of Samsung 1200 design, will be provided for a one-year drilling contract plus a one-year mutually agreed option for operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Aquadrill underlined that the charter hire agreement will be extended “if the parties mutually agree to exercise the optional term.”

Furthermore, the terms of the charter hire agreement are consistent with the current management services agreements in place between Aquadrill and Diamond. In addition, the offshore drilling contractor explained that the resulting financial benefits it stands to gain are “as if the company had entered into the drilling contract directly.”

Moreover, the total value for the firm portion of the drilling contract is expected to be $150 million and the start of this deal is scheduled for March 2023 in direct continuation of the drillship’s current contract.

When it comes to Aquadrill’s most recent activities, it is worth noting that the offshore drilling contractor entered into a memorandum of agreement with Brazil’s PetroRio in May 2022 to sell the semi-submersible drilling unit Capricorn for $40 million.

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The rig is expected to be used by the buyer on its own acreage in Brazil, thereby removing it from open market tenders for drilling units.