On 23 January Maersk Drilling’s second and third ultra-deepwater drillships were named in a joint ceremony held at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) shipyard on Geoje island South Korea, where the ships have been built. The joint ceremony was the first of its kind for the Danish company, and these two vessels come after the first drillship, Maersk Viking, was delivered in October 2013.

Lisa Lance, wife of Ryan M. Lance, chairman and chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips, had the honour of naming Maersk Valiant, while Annell R. Bay, Vice President Global Exploration, Marathon Oil Corporation, named Maersk Venturer.

The vessels are part of an order for four ultra-deepwater drillships that the company placed with the South Korean yard in 2011, with the order representing a total investment of US$2.6 billion. The drillships are 228m in length and able to operate at water depths of up to 12,000ft (3,650m), andwill be capable of drilling wells of more than 40,000ft (12,200m).

Based On a similar design philosophy to Maersk Drilling’s ultra-deepwater semi-submersibles, the drillship design includes features for high efficiency operation, including a dual derrick, which allows for parallel and offline activities. The extensive storage areas and tank capacities are advantageous when operating in areas with a less developed infrastructure and limited suppliers. Together with a high transit speed, the increased capacity of the ships will mean reduced overall logistics costs for oil companies. The drillships have accommodation capacity for 230 people.

After delivery from the yard, Maersk Valiant will commence a three-year contract with ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil for their drilling programmes in the US Gulf of Mexico. The contract includes options for up to an additional two years. The estimated contract value for the firm contract is US$694 million. A contract for Maersk Venturer has yet to be signed.Commenting on the new vessels, Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Drilling, said: ‘We have an ambition of growing our business activities in the ultra-deepwater market. With Maersk Valiant going to the US Gulf of Mexico, Maersk Drilling will then operate three rigs in the region, and we are well on our way to becoming a significant drilling contractor in that market’. AM

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