Valaris rig kicks off drilling ops at Woodside’s gas field off Australia

Offshore drilling contractor Valaris has confirmed the spudding of the first well in an eight-well campaign, which is being undertaken by one of its semi-submersible rigs at a Woodside-operated gas field off the coast of Western Australia.

Valaris DPS-1 rig; Source: Valaris

According to Valaris, its 2012-built Valaris DPS-1 semi-submersible rig, which has already arrived at the Scarborough field in Australia and began the drilling of the first of eight gas development wells for Woodside, is off to “an incredible start” in 2024.

Jason Chaplin, Rig Manager, commented: “This project will keep the Valaris DPS-1 busy through 2024 and into 2025. Kudos to the entire team for a great start, and we look forward to a safe and successful operation.”

Located approximately 375 km off Western Australia, the Scarborough field’s development entails installing a floating production unit with eight wells drilled in the initial phase and thirteen wells drilled over the life of the field.

With a maximum drilling and water depths of 35,000 ft and 10,000 ft, respectively, the Valaris DPS-1 rig, which was constructed at Jurong Shipyard in Singapore, can accommodate 200 people.

Valaris DPS-1 rig crew; Source: Valaris

The gas from the $18 billion Scarborough gas project will be processed at the Pluto LNG facility, where Woodside is currently constructing Pluto Train 2. The firm is also the operator of the Pluto Train 2 Joint Venture and holds a 51% participating interest.

The final investment decision was made in November 2021 and the first LNG cargo is targeted for 2026. The reservoir contains less than 0.1% carbon dioxide and the gas will be transported for processing at Pluto LNG through a new trunkline of approximately 430 km. 

Valaris rigs have been very busy lately. The rig owner revealed deals worth $1.14 billion in January 2024 for its drillships and jack-up rigs in Brazil, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the UK North Sea, Trinidad, and Australia.