Demand is rising for North Sea semi-submersibles
There seems to be growing optimism among some North Sea drilling contractors with semi-submersibles in their fleets, as rig demand is showing signs of improvement. Since the beginning of this year around 10 new contracts and extensions have been awarded to semi-submersibles, compared with five or so for jack-ups.
Some firm and rare data has emerged too on dayrates, which indicates UK based semi-submersibles are no longer being hired at rates of below $100,000. Fred Olsen Energy this month confirmed a fixture for the Blackford Dolphin which starts in May and features a dayrate of around $139,000 (reported figure was £98,900). The contract started off as a firm one-well fixture plus options, but client BP has since declared two options and currently has a firm three-well programme for the rig.
Awilco is in the midst of negotiating a 115-day fixture for the WilPhoenix after receiving a letter of intent from an undisclosed UK operator and data released so far suggests the rig will be on a dayrate of around $120,000. The contractor has also received a second letter of intent from a different UK operator which requires the WilPhoenix for a 450-day term, starting in September. Awilco claims demand for semi-submersibles in the UK sector is strong during the summer months, although tendering is weaker for the 2018-2019 winter months.
The utilisation rate for North Sea semi-submersibles in 2018 currently stands at 49%, while the figure for jack-ups is presently lower, at 41%. The overall fleet contains 92 rigs - 50 jack-ups and 42 semi-submersibles.
North Sea Reporter
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