Hercules rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Semi-sub rig booked for drilling gig off Namibia

Portuguese oil and gas company Galp has hired a semi-submersible rig, owned by SFL Corporation (SFL) and managed by Odfjell Drilling, for a drilling campaign offshore Namibia.

Hercules rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

SFL Corporation reported on Friday, 5 May 2023, that it had signed a contract with a subsidiary of Galp Energia for the Hercules semi-submersible rig with an estimated contract value of approximately $50 million. Thanks to a deal inked with Odfjell Drilling in May 2022, the Norwegian drilling contractor replaced Seadrill as the manager of the rig.

According to the rig owner, the two-well contract, which comes with optional well testing, is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2023. Without the options being exercised, the duration of this deal is around 115 days, including mobilisation to Namibia. Currently, the Hercules rig is undergoing its special survey in Norway before its mobilisation to Canada for a contract with ExxonMobil. After it wraps up this assignment, it will start the transit to Namibia.

Ole B. Hjertaker, CEO of SFL Management, commented: “We are pleased to announce this follow-on contract for the Hercules, which will keep the rig continuously employed until the end of the first quarter of 2024. The new contract illustrates the attractiveness and versatility of Hercules as a harsh environment oil exploration and development rig for the international market. With increasing demand and few available drilling rigs with Hercules’ capabilities, we see additional upside in day rates and contract term from 2024 onwards.”

In a separate statement, Odfjell Drilling confirmed the drilling contract for two wells in Namibia and Kjetil Gjersdal, Chief Executive Officer of Odfjell Drilling, remarked: “Since taking on management and marketing for the Hercules, we have worked tirelessly on facilitating the vessel being ready for operations in Canada while also working to secure work after this.

“Agreeing this contract with Galp Energia, the third contract for work in Namibia we have agreed within the last year, is very exciting for our company and we look forward to working with SFL and Galp Energia to meet expectations safely and efficiently.”

The 2008-built Hercules sixth-generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible rig is of GVA 7500 design. It was constructed by DSME in South Korea and can accommodate 180 people. It can operate in water depths of 10,000 ft and its maximum drilling depth is 35,000 ft.

When it comes to Galp’s activities in Namibia, the company secured an extension last year for an exploration licence located close to Shell’s Graff and TotalEnergies’ Venus discoveries, enabling it to drill an exploration well there in 2023.

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Galp conducted a 3D seismic campaign in the licence, comprising an area of around 3,000 km2 in Namibia’s deepwater offshore, in early 2019.