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Seadrill takes delivery of West Eminence semi-submersible rig

JOHN Fredriksen’s offshore drilling rig owner Seadrill has completed the first phase of its growth strategy after taking delivery of its latest semi-submersible rig from South Korea. The West Eminence was built by Samsung Shipyard and is the eighth newbuilding Seadrill has taken in the last 11 months. The semi-submersible rig will leave South Korea today en route to its first drilling assignment for state energy firm Petrobras in Brazil, the rig owner said. Petrobras will be using the rig to drill for oil and gas in the highly prospective Santos basin, south of Rio de Janeiro from June this year. Petrobras has discovered at least four giant oil fields in the Santos basin in the last two years and is keen to find more. It is also driving to develop the fields it has encountered so far using deepwater rigs. “West Eminence is the second deepwater newbuilding delivered to Seadrill that starts a long-term contract with Petrobras,” Seadrill chief executive Alf Thorkildsen said. Last month, the West Taurus semi-submersible rig newbuilding started drilling work off Brazil for Petrobras. “This concludes the first phase of developing Seadrill into a global deepwater drilling contractor. After this initial phase, Seadrill will take delivery of a further three deepwater units,” Mr Thorkildsen said. Seadrill’s next deepwater rig deliveries are due in 2010, when it expects to add the West Gemini drillship, the West Orion semi-submersible rig and West Vencedor floating tender rig to the fleet. The Oslo-listed company is part of Mr Fredriksen’s empire of shipping and energy. He is president and chairman of Seadrill.

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