Stena Evolution drillship; Source: Stena Drilling

WATCH: Stena Drilling’s new drillship stops at South African port before its maiden gig with Shell

UK-based offshore drilling contractor Stena Drilling has confirmed a short stay in a South African port for the newest drillship in its rig fleet, which is expected to come to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico soon to start its inaugural assignment with the UK-headquartered oil major, Shell.

Stena Evolution drillship; Source: Stena Drilling

Following its announcement about buying a drillship from Samsung, Stena Drilling unveiled the name and colors of the Stena Evolution drillship via social media channels in March 2022, describing it as a seventh-generation operation-oriented enhanced ultra-deepwater DP3 drillship capable of operating in water depths up to 12,000 ft and drilling depths up to 40,000 ft.

Come May 2023, Shell inked a five-year deal with Stena Drilling for the drillship, which recently joined the rig owner’s fleet. According to the offshore drilling contractor, Stena Evolution has made a three-day stopover in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, en route to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where the rig will embark on its first-ever drilling campaign.

While disclosing the pit stop at Port Elizabeth, Stena Drilling underlined that the stopover was “crucial” for crew rotation, bunkering, and cargo operations. The rig is slated to start its five-year drilling program in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in the second quarter of 2024. As this deal comes with an extension option, Shell can prolong the rig’s stay in the U.S. waters upon completion of the primary term.

“We’re excited for the final leg of her journey, as she heads to her first campaign destination,” highlighted Stena Drilling.

Stena Evolution comes to Port Elizabeth