Reliance sub-lets Discoverer India to Chevron

Vol 14, PW 11 (18 Nov 10) Exploration & Production

She’s on her way from Johor Bahru in Malaysia to India’s eastern offshore for her first Reliance assignment, but could be leaving soon.

“Discoverer India has been sub-let to Chevron from June 2011,” an industry source tells PETROWATCH, “to drill in the Gulf of Mexico.” ‘New-build’ Discoverer took on equipment at Johor Bahru and conducted trials of her Dynamic Positioning System before sailing for India.

This Transocean-owned ‘Enterprise class’ deepwater drillship, which can drill in up to 10,000-ft water depths, is expected offshore India shortly to begin her five-year Reliance contract. “After clearance from customs and the Indian navy”, we hear, “Discoverer will spud her first (Reliance) well by December 1 at the latest.

” During the first six months of the Reliance contract, Transocean will earn $537,000/day for Discoverer. After six months, she will earn $557,000/day for the rest of the contract.

“But Reliance management is clear Discoverer should not stay in India for more than a year,” we learn, “and should be sub-let well before that.” Reliance is also believed to have talked to ExxonMobil and BP before finally sub-letting Discoverer to Chevron at the same rate it pays Transocean.

“Reliance is not ready to begin drilling in 3000-metre (10,000-ft) water depths,” says a driller. “That is why it is sub-letting almost all its ‘new generation’ drillships.

” Reliance, he adds, will need new generation drillships only after 2012, when it begins receiving deliveries of ‘long-lead sub-sea equipment’ and begins developing deeper areas at D6. Reliance currently has two other Transocean rigs: Deepwater Frontier and Dhirubhai Deepwater KG-2 (DD-KG2).

Deepwater Frontier will leave Indian waters this week to begin drilling at Reliance’s East Timor block. She may return to Indian waters around February 2011, before her contract expires in July 2011.

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