With Shell opting out of last extension option in Namibia, rig available for hire in summer
Offshore drilling contractor Northern Ocean is on the lookout for further assignments for a semi-submersible rig, which is expected to finish its work with Shell in the summer next year, as the oil major chose not to prolong the rig’s current job off Namibia.
Back in November 2022, Offshore Energy reported that the Deepsea Bollsta semi-submersible rig was on its way to Namibia to embark on its drilling assignment with Shell, which was secured in late August 2022. The drilling operations at the Jonker-1X deepwater exploration well in the PEL-39 exploration license in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia started in December 2022.
When March 2023 rolled in, it was confirmed that the drilling of the well enabled Shell to make its third oil discovery in Namibia since February 2022. The oil major decided to use an extension option in May 2023 to add six more months of work to the rig’s backlog in Namibia, while an additional six-month option was left at the time.
According to Northern Ocean, Shell did not exercise this remaining option, which is available under the Deepsea Bollsta contract for work in Namibia, thus, the rig is available for work from June 2024. As a result, the rig owner continues its ongoing dialogue with potential customers in the West African region and harsh environment markets to secure more work for the rig, once it wraps up its assignment with Shell.
Northern Ocean outlined: “The rig has maintained outstanding performance with the crews demonstrating the superior capabilities and efficiencies of a harsh environment semi-submersible operating in a challenging region through the winter season.
“The company has established itself in Namibia with two premium semi-submersible rigs in operations and is confident its rigs are the right solution for this market long-term. However, the NOL fleet will continue to be marketed towards opportunities in all relevant offshore basins.”
The 2020-built Deepsea Bollsta sixth-generation semi-submersible rig is of Moss CS60E design and can accommodate 140 people. The rig can carry out operations in both benign and harsh environments at water depths of up to 3,000 meters.
Northern Ocean’s other rig, the Deepsea Mira semi-sub is working in Namibia, thanks to a multi-country drilling contract with TotalEnergies, which was awarded in December 2022. With an estimated firm duration of 300 days, plus one 180-day option and a 90-day option, the rig’s contract with the French oil major began in June 2023.
Both Deepsea Bollsta and Deepsea Mira rigs are managed by Odfjell Drilling following an agreement with Northern in December 2021. As the management of the rigs was transferred from Seadrill to Odfjell, the rigs also got new names to reflect this change.