Blackford Dolphin sails to Kakinada from Oman

Vol 13, PW 15 (14 Jan 10) Exploration & Production

Reliance is rumoured to be offering to sub-let semi-submersible Blackford Dolphin for around $350,000/day - just days before the rig’s scheduled arrival at Kakinada on the Andhra Pradesh coast.

“Reliance is desperate to sub-let this rig,â€‌ reports a contractor. “All it wants to do now is shrink its fleet.

â€‌ Rig-owner Fred Olsen Energy is charging Reliance $398,000/day for Blackford Dolphin, according to a company presentation dated 30 October 2009. But industry sources tell us Reliance would rather sub-let the rig at a loss than begin an expensive drilling campaign of its own.

“If Reliance doesn’t have a use for Blackford then it might decide it’s better of subsidising somebody else than using it themselves,â€‌ adds a source. Soon it might be too late.

PETROWATCH learns Blackford completed its exploration well for Reliance at Block 18 in Oman last month and on (Thursday) January 7 set sail for India’s east coast, pulled by tugboat Lewik Stork in a journey expected to take up to 26 days. After customs clearance, expected to take no more than two days, the rig should be ready to move to a drilling location around February 5.

“Reliance is evaluating and debating a number of possible firm drilling locations for Blackford,â€‌ we hear. “There’s still time because the rig hasn’t reached yet.

Any decision will be taken when it reaches Kakinada.â€‌ Could Reliance sub-let Blackford in the meantime “It’s entirely possible,â€‌ says a source.

“Rigs are narrowly suited to particular locations, especially when you get into deeper waters. Their capability needs to match water depths, ocean currents and general marine conditions.

If Reliance finds there’s a small gap between utilisation, then it will definitely sub-let – it’s good business practice. It helps other people and it helps Reliance.

â€‌ Blackford Dolphin can drill in water depths of up to 7000-ft and is officially on hire to Reliance till December 2011, according to an Fred Olsen company presentation dated October 29 last year.

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