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More Time With Shell in Namibia for One Rig While Another Gets Ready to Kick Off Its Gig With Total Energies

Offshore drilling contractor Northern Ocean has secured a contract extension from the UK-headquartered Shell for operations in Namibia, where the oil major made another oil discovery earlier this year. In addition, another one of the rig owner’s semi-submersible rigs, which TotalEnergies employed for multi-country operations, is expected to start its drilling assignment later this quarter.

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. The drilling operations at the Jonker-1X deepwater exploration well in the PEL-39 exploration license 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.

In an update on Thursday, 25 May 2023, Northern Ocean revealed that Shell had exercised an extension option to prolong the contract for continued work in Namibia using the Deepsea Bollsta rig. As a result, the firm term of the contract has been extended for six months – from December 2023 into June 2024 – while an additional option for six months is available.

According to the rig owner, the extension provides a revenue backlog of approximately $88.6 million with the option to extend for an additional six months potentially adding a further $81 million. 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 metres.

On the other hand, the Deepsea Mira rig departed from Bergen, Norway, at the beginning of April 2023 and began mobilisation to the first well in Namibia for its 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 TotalEnergies was originally expected to start in the middle of the second quarter of 2023.

As the rig experienced some delays loading equipment and performing required maintenance during the transit, Northern Ocean is now targeting the beginning of the contract at the end of the second quarter. The Deepsea Mira is an enhanced and extended CS 60 E harsh environment design semi-submersible delivered by Hyundai Heavy in South Korea. 

Both Bollsta and 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.

Source: Offshore Energy