Jack-up demand holds but new contracts for semisubs ease off
The level of rig utilisation in the North Sea for 2020 currently stands 48% for the semi-submersibles and 56% for jack-ups, both will obviously improve as the year progresses, although whether they will surpass last year’s final figures of 66% (semisubs) and 76% (jack-ups) remains to be seen. The number of new contract awards for semi-submersibles certainly tailed off in the second half of 2019, with just four new contracts issued, plus two extension deals. Over the same period the jack-up sector performed much better, attracting 21 deals overall, including a mixture of new contracts, contract extensions and declared options. The bottom line being rig demand in the jack-up sector was stronger than for semisubs throughout 2019 and is starting the new year the same manner. The most recent contract for a semi-sub was picked up by Seadrill; a 28-month fixture for the West Phoenix in Norway which involves an estimated dayrate of around $360,000. While for the jack-up sector, the last two new and confirmed dayrates were reported in November, which saw the Maersk Interceptor and Maersk Integrator acquire dayrates of $275,000 and $272, respectively; both contracts cover operations off Norway.
The North Sea fleet currently contains 85 drilling units, comprising of 43 semi-submersibles, 41 jack-ups and one drillship. Two rigs are due to enter the North Sea this year, the semi-submersible West Bollsta in April along with the Valaris JU-28 in May. The Bollsta has a long-term contract with Lundin in Norway and the Valaris jack-up will initially drill for Premier in the UK sector; it then has a subsequent fixture to fulfil with Neptune Energy. Meanwhile, one rig will leave the North Sea this year, the semi-submersible Deepsea Stavanger, which is due leave in February or March and head to South Africa to drill for Total for a period of up to 280 days.
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