Jack-up fleet is cut again but semisub tally is set to rise

The size of the North Sea fleet continues to fluctuate, with the jack-up fleet being trimmed and the semi-submersible due to increase. The latest jack-up to be sold is the 1978-built Ensco 80 which recently finished well abandonment and decommissioning work for Repsol in the UK's Beatrice field. The rig is therefore eliminated from the North Sea jack-up fleet, which now numbers 40 units.

The semi-submersible fleet currently contains 42 units, but is set to rise. Diamond Offshore has brought the Ocean Endeavor to the UK sector and is presently based in Cromarty. The Endeavor is being reactivated to undertake a firm two-year contract with Shell that begins in May 2019; the work involved covers a 12-well programme. Diamond is also in the midst of mobilising the more modern semi-submersible Ocean GreatWhite from Singapore to the North Sea sector. The rig is likely to arrive within the next few months, but has no firm work lined up, although Diamond is already marketing the 2016-built unit.

On 1 August, North Sea jack-up and semi-submersible stood at very similar levels of 66% and 67% respectively; the highest level reached since mid-2016. However, the improvement in the jack-up figure has been influenced by fleet reduction actions. Meanwhile, the number of rigs actively working in the north Sea has altered little during the past two years or so; ranging between 18-28 semi-submersibles and 25-31 jack-ups. Figures which support the view that the overall North Sea fleet needs to fall to around 70-75 units to match future work demand.


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