West Capella drillship; Source: Mubadala Energy

With new batch of drillship deals, Seadrill reels in $97.5 million

Offshore drilling contractor Seadrill has disclosed a new contract award and extension, totaling approximately $97.5 million in value, for two drillships along with a timeline for the resumption of management services for another drillship, which joined its fleet following the acquisition of Aquadrill.

West Capella drillship; Source: Mubadala Energy

The offshore drilling player has secured a new contract award for the West Vela drillship with Talos Production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. This deal, which comes with an estimated duration of 150 days, is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2024 and represents a total contract value of around $73.5 million, excluding managed pressure drilling (MPD) services.

The West Vela is a seventh-generation ultra-deepwater dual activity Samsung 12,000 drillship with a maximum water depth capacity of 12,000 ft and a maximum drilling depth capacity of 37,500 ft. The 2013-built drillship, which Diamond Offshore manages on behalf of Seadrill (former Aquadrill), finished operations with BP in the Gulf of Mexico in August 2023 and resumed its contract with Beacon which is expected to run until May 2024.

Afterward, the West Vela drillship is scheduled to undertake a short-term campaign in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico from June 2024 up to August 2024 with QuarterNorth Energy. This campaign is expected to commence after the rig transitions to Seadrill from Diamond Offshore. The new contract added $41 million to Seadrill’s backlog. 

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Seadrill also got its hands on more work in Indonesia after an undisclosed operator exercised a one-well option for the West Capella drillship with the existing third-party manager, Vantage Holdings, extending the rig’s assignment by approximately two months. This extension is in direct continuation of the drillship’s current program and represents a total contract value of about $24 million.

Recently, the Layaran-1 exploration well, drilled in South Andaman, about 100 kilometers offshore North Sumatra with the potential for over 6 TCF of gas-in-place, was spudded with Seadrill’s West Capella drillship, based on the information from Mubadala Energy.

With a maximum drilling depth of 37,500 ft and a water depth of 10,000 ft, the 2008-built sixth-generation ultra-deepwater dual activity drillship was constructed by Samsung in South Korea. The rig can accommodate 180 people.

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Meanwhile, Diamond Offshore, the current manager of the West Auriga drillship, has disclosed that the rig will be released in February 2024 due to changes in BP’s drilling sequence in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, enabling Seadrill to resume management of the rig in the first quarter of 2024.

As a result, the offshore drilling player intends to accelerate preparation for the previously-announced contract with Petrobras in Brazil, beginning in the second half of 2024, and more quickly achieve synergies from the 2023 acquisition of Aquadrill.

Simon Johnson, Seadrill’s President & Chief Executive Officer, commented: “It is a pleasure to extend our contractual relationship with our longstanding client, Talos Energy. We also look forward to getting Seadrill coveralls back onboard the West Auriga.”

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The 2013-built West Auriga is a Samsung 12,000 seventh-generation ultra-deepwater dual-activity drillship with an accommodation capacity for 200 people. While the rig is capable of operating in water depths of 12,000 ft, its maximum drilling depth is 37,500 ft.


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