Ensco Plans 350 Layoffs on Idled Gulf of Mexico Rigs

Ensco drillship (file image)

By MarEx 2016-05-17 21:12:14

Offshore drillers Ensco have informed the Texas Workforce Commission that they intend to lay off 350 personnel from the stacking of three drillships,  the Ensco DS-3, Ensco DS-4 and Ensco DS-5, plus the Ensco 8500 semisubmersible.

DS-3 is due to come off contract next month. DS-4 was already warm-stacked, following an early termination. Ensco 8500 had been warm stacked following a contract end late last year. The DS-5 had her contract voided by Petrobras in January amidst allegations of corruption, leading to an ongoing three-way dispute and arbitration proceedings amongst Petrobras, rig builder Samsung Heavy Industries and Ensco. 

All four rigs affected by the layoff filing are presently located in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. 

In a late April conference call, the firm's president and CEO, Carl Trowell, said that Ensco does not intend to fully cold-stack the ships, but will relocate them "from the Gulf of Mexico where they have basically been at anchor . . . to a new cluster-stack approach, which we're going to do in Tenerife." 

"It's a lower-cost environment to do it. We can put the rigs dockside there, and they are better-positioned for any future work that might come because of that location,” he said.

Earlier this month, Ensco also received early terminations for the Ensco 6003 and 6004; with these additions, idle or held for sale rigs stand at a bit more than a third of the firm’s fleet. 

Last year, Ensco announced plans to cut shoreside personnel by 15 percent. As of February, the company had 6,400 employees, mostly rig crew; the latest layoffs amount to a five percent workforce reduction.