Vantage orders drillship

A Vantage Drilling-led joint venture has ordered a deepwater drillship at STX Offshore & Shipbuilding.

It has been ordered by Sigma Drilling, a joint venture between Vantage, Norwegian businessman Bjarne Skeie and other investors.

The drillship is reported to be costing $673m and due for delivery from the South Korean shipbuilder in November 2015.

Through its investment of $31m in the joint venture entity, Sigma Drilling, Vantage will initially own about 42% of the equity in Sigma.

The BT-UDS design vessel will be capable of operating in 12,000 ft of water depth, have 25,000t variable deck load and be equipped with two seven-ram BOP units.

The initial equity funding by the partners is expected to be sufficient to cover substantially all of the shipyard and other capital expenditures which require payment prior to the completion and delivery of the drillship.

“We view this high-spec drillship construction project as an excellent opportunity for Vantage to further grow our presence in the expanding ultra-deepwater drilling market, with only a small capital commitment,” said Vantage chief executive Paul Bragg.

“We believe that the construction contract provides exceptional value, attractive terms and the high end of available technology.”

In conjunction with the investment, Vantage has agreed to provide construction oversight of the vessel as well as manage the future operations of the drillship.

Vantage already owns a fleet of four Baker Marine Pacific Class 375 jack-up drilling rigs and two ultra-deepwater drillships, the Platinum Explorer and the Titanium Explorer.

The US-listed company also has an additional ultra-deepwater drillship, the Tungsten Explorer, under construction in South Korea.