Maersk Drilling Expects to Set New Ultra-Deepwater Record


Published Jan 14, 2020 5:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

Maersk Drilling announced Tuesday that its drillship Maersk Voyager has won a contract for a three-well exploration project by Total off the coast of Angola and Namibia, including one well that is expected to set a new world record for water depth - 11,900 feet. 

The current record of about 11,150 feet was set by Voyager's sister ship, Maersk Venturer, off the coast of Uruguay in 2016. That project was also completed for Total. 

The project includes two wells offshore Angola in Blocks 32 and 48, plus one well offshore Namibia. The campaign is expected to begin in January 2020 with an estimated duration of 240 days, plus options for two additional wells. The firm-price contract comes in at about $46 million including mobilization, or about $190,000 per day. 

“We are thrilled to once again push beyond existing boundaries in collaboration with Total, drawing upon our mutual experience from the exciting deepwater exploration projects we have collaborated on over the years," said Maersk Drilling COO Morten Kelstrup. "In addition, it’s great to be heading back to Angola where we performed a series of successful operations from 2012 to 2016, and to do so in a multi-country campaign which will showcase our ability to quickly and smoothly move operations from one jurisdiction to another."

Drilling executives report improving market conditions in the ultradeepwater segment after many challenging years, with day rates often rising above $200,000 on recently-signed contracts.

"Customer demand for the highest specification ultra-deepwater floaters now equals or exceeds the number of marketable rigs currently available in many areas," said Transocean CEO Jeremy Thigpen in a recent update. "As a result, new contracts more consistently reflect materially increased day rates, which will generate significantly improved cash flow.”