Transocean Spitsbergen; Photo: Jamie Baikie, SIGNAL2NOISE/Equinor

Transocean rigs score trifecta with Woodside, Wintershall Dea, and Equinor

Switzerland-based offshore drilling contractor Transocean has pulled off a hat trick with a batch of multimillion-dollar contract extensions for its rigs, which are working for Australia’s Woodside Energy, Germany’s Wintershall Dea, and Norway’s Equinor.

Transocean Spitsbergen; Photo: Jamie Baikie, SIGNAL2NOISE/Equinor

Three of Transocean’s harsh environment semi-submersible rigs have secured more work, which represents approximately $161 million in firm contract backlog. This comes after the rig owner’s two contract extensions in 1Q 2024, worth around $248 million, lifted the firm’s total backlog to about $8.9 billion as of April 17, 2024. 

Jeremy Thigpen, Transocean’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “These fixtures are emblematic of the continued strength of the high-specification harsh environment market. Our customers are contracting rigs up to four years in advance, reinforcing our confidence in the strength and longevity of this upcycle.”

The first of the three new contract extensions has been obtained for the Transocean Spitsbergen rig in Norway with Equinor. This three-well extension is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2025 in direct continuation of the rig’s current program and contribute about $72 million in backlog, excluding additional services. The extension also includes options for up to six additional wells.

The 2010-built Transocean Spitsbergen is a sixth-generation dual-derrick winterized semi-submersible rig capable of drilling high-pressure/high-temperature formations and equipped with an automatic drilling control system. This rig, which was built at Aker Stord, has been working for Equinor for several years.

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The Transocean Norge rig, which is the first semi-submersible rig that secured the Abate (Power+) notation, has also won a three-well contract extension with Wintershall Dea, which is slated to start in the first quarter of 2028 in direct continuation of the rig’s current program. The estimated 140-day assignment will contribute approximately $71 million in backlog, excluding additional services.

The Transocean Norge sixth-generation Moss Maritime CS60 semi-submersible rig was constructed at Jurong Shipyard in Singapore. The rig can accommodate 150 people and its maximum drilling depth is 40,000 ft. Thanks to a 17-well contract, secured in September 2022 with day rates between $350,000 and $430,000, the rig is working for two oil and gas companies, Wintershall Dea and OMV.

After the duo entered into an exclusive partnership with Transocean to use the rig for the drilling of all firm and additional potential wells in the period from 2023 to 2027, the offshore drilling player also got a one-well extension from Wintershall Dea for the rig last year.

Last but not least, Woodside has exercised its second option for the Transocean Endurance rig in Australia, which is scheduled to commence in direct continuation of the rig’s current program. The estimated 45-day well assignment will contribute around $18 million in backlog. The rig landed a multi-well plug and abandonment assignment in Australia last year, adding about $91 million to the backlog.

The 2015-built Transocean Endurance is a semi-submersible CAT D rig of GVA 4000 NCS design and can accommodate 130 people. The rig’s maximum drilling depth is 27,887 ft and was constructed at Hanwha Ocean, former Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, in South Korea.