‘Maersk Developer’ bags first back-to-back contract in four years, but day rate remains depressed

Semi-submersible rig to move from Mexico to Trinidad in Q1 2020

According to a press release published earlier today, Maersk Drilling has entered a contract with BG International Ltd., a subsidiary of Shell, for work offshore Trinidad and Tobago on a two-well development project for the semi-submersible rig Maersk Developer. The contract has an estimated duration of 171 days and is expected to commence in Q1 2020. The value of the firm contract is approximately US$ 39 million, including a mobilization fee. It also contains provisions for five additional one-well options.

Maersk Developer underway. Image credit: Maersk Drilling Image Library

The Denmark-flagged Maersk Developer is a DSS-21 column-stabilized dynamically positioned semi-submersible rig, able to operate in water depths up to 10,000ft.

It was delivered by Keppel FELS shipyard of Singapore in 2009 and immediately deployed in the US Gulf of Mexico under a contract with Equinor (then Statoil). In February 2016, after a six-year operating period for the Norwegian oil company, the rig was stacked at Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

Since then, Maersk Drilling managed to land a few short-term contracts for the rig. In 2017 it briefly worked for Repsol offshore Colombia for 42 days; then, for Shell in Trinidad & Tobago for 9 months during the following year. Finally, since August 2019 the unit is drilling offshore Mexican waters for Cairn.

After every contract over the last four years, the unit had to be put in lay up again and again. Thus, with the current contract about to expire by year-end, the new announcement comes as a relief. It is the first time the rig lands a new contract immediately following the expiration of the previous one.

For the work performed in 2018, Maersk Developer was awarded the ‘Shell Floater of the Year’ award, which certainly helped the rig being contracted again. “We are very pleased to be headed back to Trinidad to build on the successful work Maersk Developer previously performed for Shell there,” says Morten Kelstrup, COO of Maersk Drilling.

On the other hand, the contract value implies an aggregated day rate of US$228k. This means a far cry from healthy levels and another sign that the offshore drilling industry is nowhere near the end of its never-ending crisis.


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