Ensco sends DS1 rig to Alang shipyard to die

Vol 20, PW 3 (20 Oct 16) Exploration & Production

Offshore rig contractors are having a bad time but business is booming for ship-breaking yards like Alang in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.

NYSE-listed driller Ensco has despatched drillship DS1 from the West African seacoast, where it was cold-stacked, to Alang, the world's biggest ship graveyard. Earlier known as Pride Africa until its name-change in 2012, DS1 is expected to reach Alang by end-October, after arriving at the Bhavnagar anchorage in the Gulf of Khambat (Cambay) on September 18.

Ensco confirmed plans to scrap DS1 and five jack-ups in its July rig fleet report after making an announcement in February 2016. A source at Bhavnagar-based ship-breaking company Satyam Steel and Marine Supply adds it will be in charge of dismantling DS1 once it arrives at Alang.

"DS1's arrival is delayed because of some hurdles," says our source. "Once the rig is dismantled marine scrap and useful equipment will be sold to anybody who is interested." A Gujarat Maritime Board source adds many offshore rigs are being retired because of the economic downturn, and this is creating opportunities and jobs for workers at Alang.

"The situation is bad for offshore drillers," says a senior ONGC source. "If there is no improvement more drillers may follow Ensco's footsteps." DS1 has a rated water depth of 10,000 feet (3048 metres) and a rated drilling depth of 31,500 feet (9601 metres).