Deepwater Proteus drillship; Source: Transocean

Transocean scoops up $518 million drillship gig in Gulf of Mexico

Offshore drilling contractor Transocean has secured a long-term contract with an undisclosed operator for a high-specification seventh-generation, ultra-deepwater drillship in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Mexico.

Deepwater Proteus drillship; Source: Transocean

According to Transocean, three drillships – Deepwater Invictus, Deepwater Thalassa, and Deepwater Proteus – have been shortlisted for this 1,080-day assignment. One of these three will be selected by the rig owner no later than one year prior to the earliest date in the contract commencement window. This contract is expected to start between the fourth quarter of 2025 and the second quarter of 2026.

Jeremy Thigpen, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “This award is especially encouraging on numerous fronts. The fact that our customers are securing rigs well in advance of their programmes and committing to long-term contracts clearly demonstrates the tightness of the market.

“Additionally, our ability to designate the specific rig closer to the commencement of the programme provides us with increased flexibility to optimise the utilisation of our high-specification fleet of ultra-deepwater drillships.”

Furthermore, the deal will contribute approximately $518 million in backlog, excluding revenue for mobilisation and demobilisation. The company explains that the contractual day rate is subject to a semi-annual cost adjustment mechanism with a baseline established as of 1 July 2023. There are no additional services provided under the contract.

The 2016-built Deepwater Thalassa drillship is currently working for Shell in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM) at a day rate of $480,000. This deal is scheduled to end in February 2026. The 2016-built Deepwater Proteus drillship is also carrying out an assignment for Shell in the Gulf of Mexico, which is currently slated to end in May 2026. The day rate is $481,000.

On the other hand, the 2014-built Deepwater Invictus drillship was scheduled to wrap up its job with Woodside in April 2023 and move to its assignment with an undisclosed company in the Gulf of Mexico. The day rate for this work, slated to end in July 2023, is $425,000. These three drillships are capable of operating at 12,000 feet of water depth and drilling to depths of 40,000 feet.

Transocean has secured multiple new assignments and contract extensions for its rig fleet over the past few months, including a six-well contract extension for a semi-submersible rig working on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).