Ocean BlackLion; Source: ST Engineering

Two Diamond Offshore floaters find more work in Gulf of Mexico and North Sea

Offshore drilling contractor Diamond Offshore Drilling has expanded the contract backlog of its floater fleet by securing a new job in the UK sector of the North Sea for one of its semi-submersible rigs and an extension of the current assignment for a drillship in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Ocean BlackLion; Source: ST Engineering

Thanks to a two-year contract extension with a subsidiary of BP, which is slated to start in September 2024, Diamond Offshore’s Ocean BlackLion drillship will keep working in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in direct continuation of the rig’s current contract. This extension brings the rig owner around $350 million of additional backlog.

The 2015-built Ocean BlackLion is an ultra-deepwater drillship from Hyundai Heavy Industries, which comes with dynamic-positioning, dual-activity capability, maximum hook-load capacity of 1,250 tons, water depth capabilities up to 12,000 feet, and drilling depth capabilities up to 40,000 feet. 

The offshore drilling player also got its hands on a new deal with Serica Energy (UK) Limited to utilize the Ocean Patriot semi-submersible rig for two plug and abandonment (P&A) wells in the UK North Sea. The program, which is anticipated to begin in March 2024, will continue for approximately 60 days, adding over $10 million to Diamond Offshore’s backlog, excluding mobilization.

The 1983-built Ocean Patriot rig, which is of Bingo 3000 design, can operate in a water depth of up to 3,000 ft and its maximum drilling depth is 20,000 ft. The rig concluded its campaign with Apache in the UK in early July 2023 and kicked off its first campaign with Repsol in the North Sea later that same year.

Bernie Wolford, Jr., Diamond Offshore’s President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “These awards reflect the continuing strength of the drillship market and the improving moored floater market in the UK North Sea while highlighting the exceptional work of our crews across these regions.”

Recently, another rig from the firm’s semi-submersible fleet commenced its drilling program with Petrobras offshore Brazil. Diamond Offshore also won a new contract for one of its drillships offshore Guinea-Bissau.