More work to keep Shelf Drilling rig busy until mid-2024

Offshore drilling contractor Shelf Drilling has secured a new contract extension for one of its jack-up rigs for operations on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

Shelf Drilling Fortress jack-up rig; Source: Shelf Drilling

According to the rig owner, a subsidiary of Shelf Drilling North Sea (SDNS) has secured a two-well contract extension for the Shelf Drilling Fortress jack-up rig. The firm term of the extension is approximately five months, with a contract value of around $18 million.

Thanks to this extension, the expected availability of the rig has now been bumped to June 2024. Currently, the jack-up rig is working for CNOOC at its Golden Eagle platform located about 111 kilometers northeast of Aberdeen in the UK Central North Sea. This platform produced its first oil in 2014.

The original two-well contract, disclosed in August 2023, was expected to start in September 2023 and take between four and five months. However, it also entailed additional wells with a total estimated duration of 13 months. Following the latest two-well extension, the contract includes options for two more wells, with an estimated eight-month duration.

The Noble Sam Hartley rig, which was bought by Shelf Drilling to be renamed Shelf Drilling Fortress, was sold as part of Noble’s efforts to remedy competition concerns related to its merger with Maersk Drilling, which was concluded in 2022. This rig previously worked for TotalEnergies in the North Sea.

The 2014-built Shelf Drilling Fortress jack-up rig is of Friede & Goldman JU-3000N design and can accommodate about 150 people. With a maximum drilling depth of 35,000 feet, it is capable of working in water depths of 400 feet.

Shelf Drilling secured multiple new contracts and extensions since the start of 2023. During the second quarter of 2023, seven rigs started new contracts and extensions in India, Saudi Arabia, and West Africa.