Caspian Explorer drilling vessel Source Caspian Sunrise

Vessel scores its ‘first major drilling contract’

Caspian Sunrise, an oil and gas company with a focus on Kazakhstan, has inked a deal for the Caspian Explorer drilling vessel, enabling it to undertake operations in the Caspian Sea. 

Caspian Explorer drilling vessel Source Caspian Sunrise

In late February 2023, Caspian Sunrise revealed that the terms of the charter agreement for 2024 were agreed with the formal signing scheduled for late March 2023. In an update on Tuesday, 7 March 2023, the company disclosed that the contract chartering the Caspian Explorer vessel had been signed.

According to Caspian Sunrise, the well is scheduled to be drilled in the summer of 2024 and is to be drilled to a planned depth of 2,500 meters. The drilling work will be carried out for the Istay Operating Company LLP (IOC), a Kazakh registered explorer, in which Italy’s Eni is a leading participant. The work is expected to take approximately two months. 

Moreover, Caspian Sunrise explains that the total amount to be paid under the contract will depend principally on the number of drilling days. Based on the firm’s expectations, the overall impact is expected to result in net income of approximately $15 million, spread over the life of the contract. If the well is successful, the contract provides for a second well to be drilled on broadly the same terms as the first well.

Clive Carver, Caspian Sunrise’s Chairman, remarked: “We are naturally delighted to have signed the first major drilling contract for the Caspian Explorer. This is a significant separate source of funding for the group and demonstrates the potential value of this unique asset. The funds generated are planned to be used to fund the group’s further development.”

Caspian Explorer is a drilling vessel capable of drilling exploration wells to depths of up to 6,000 meters in shallow water in the northern Caspian Sea where traditional deepwater rigs cannot be used. It can accommodate around 100 people.

Assembled in the Ersay shipyard in Kazakhstan between 2010 and 2011, the Caspian Explorer was conceived by a consortium of leading Korean companies, including KNOC, Samsung and Daewoo Shipbuilding.

Caspian Sunrise says that this vessel is believed to be the only drilling vessel of its type currently operating in the shallow northern Caspian Sea. The company highlights that it continues to talk with potential hirers in respect of other charters for the Caspian Explorer.