Photo: Illustration; Source: Stena Drilling

Stena Drilling mulls option to buy new drillship from Samsung Heavy

Aberdeen-based offshore drilling contractor Stena Drilling has revealed an agreement with South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries related to an option to buy a newbuild drillship.

Stena Drilling informed on Tuesday it had entered into a purchase option agreement with Samsung Heavy Industries for a drillship, giving Stena “the possibility to offer the market a state of the art drilling service with a minimal carbon footprint.”

Erik Ronsberg, CEO of Stena Drilling, said: “Our plan is to fit the drillship according to our specifications with hybrid technologies including the use of batteries. If we find a suitable contract, we will use the option to buy the unit.”

Currently, Stena Drilling has four drillships and two semi-submersible rigs in its fleet.

As reported last week, Samsung revealed it had agreed to sell a drillship, which was ordered by Ocean Rig in 2014 and later cancelled by Transocean following its takeover of Ocean Rig, to an unnamed European company for a price tag of $245 million.

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According to Samsung, the delivery to the new owner is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023. However, the buyer must confirm the delivery by 15 October 2022 otherwise Samsung can cancel the deal and keep the $15 million deposit.

Following Stena’s announcement about the agreement with Samsung, Offshore Energy has reached out to Stena seeking confirmation that the drillship in question is the one previously ordered by Ocean Rig. A spokesperson for Stena confirmed to Offshore Energy that the ultra-deepwater drillship, which is the subject of its deal with Samsung, is known as the Crete.

Former Ocean Rig drillship - Samsung Heavy
Former Ocean Rig drillship; Source: Samsung Heavy

Samsung also had another former Ocean Rig drillship in stock, known as Santorini. This one has recently been delivered to Saipem following a two-year charter agreement with the Italian company. Samsung also has three more drillships in stock, which it plans to sell as soon as possible.

Earlier this year, Samsung lost a dispute with Stena Drilling related to the termination of a rig construction contract. As a result, the shipyard was ordered to pay $411 million to the rig owner.

The dispute was related to the construction of a harsh environment semi-submersible drilling unit, formerly known as Stena MidMAX, ordered from Samsung in 2013 and cancelled by Stena in June 2017 due to excessive delay.

Samsung disputed the termination and referred the dispute to London Arbitration but the Tribunal determined that the termination was valid and dismissed all claims by Samsung against Stena.