STX in bumper rig deal

Sigma Drilling has ordered up to five deepwater drillships at STX Offshore & Shipbuilding in a deal potentially worth almost $3.5bn.

The Norwegian company, established by Bjarne Skeie-owned Skeie Technology, has placed a firm order for one drillship worth $672m.

However, the contract includes options for four additional drillships which if exercised could increase the value of the deal to nearly $3.5bn.

In addition if all the options are exercised the value of the contract would exceed 50% of STX Offshore & Shipbuilding's annual sales target of $6.6bn.

The South Korean yard said the drillship award is now the corner stone project for its expanded presence in the offshore shipbuilding industry.

The company recently won an order worth $430m for an FSO from an unnamed North African oil company.

Reports out late Tuesday said the firm drillship had been ordered in a joint venture with Nobu Su-controlled Vantage Drilling.

However, when contacted by TradeWinds on Wednesday a spokesman for the US-listed company declined to say if it was involved in the optional drillships.

The drillship will be built at the STX Jinhae Yard and scheduled to be delivered to the owners sometime in the second half of 2015.

“The ultra deep water drillship market remains strong with its solid day rates and utilization, driven by the surging demand from the oil majors,” said an STX spokesperson.

On Monday STX said it had won newbuilding orders for a series of four pure car and truck carriers (PCTC).

Domestic company Zenith Partners signed on for two firm 6,500-ceu newbuildings for delivery from early 2015 plus options for two more.

The investment company will charter the ships out to a global shipowner on long-term charters upon their delivery, Zenith said.