Saipem 10000 expected to reach India by July

Vol 14, PW 21 (21 Apr 11) Exploration & Production

Missile testing on India’s eastern offshore has again delayed the mobilisation of deepwater drillship Saipem 10000 to Eni’s Andaman Islands block AN-DWN-2003/2.

“Saipem 10000 (owned by Eni subsidiary Saipem) was originally expected to reach India in February (2011),” says a drilling source. “This was postponed to April and now we’re hearing she might arrive between May and July.

” Eni has been waiting since January 2011 for defence ministry clearance to mobilise Saipem 10000, as the 13,110-sq km block lies in a missile testing range. “Eni believes it will definitely get defence ministry clearance by July,” we learn.

But it is yet to hire vessels for a proposed three exploration well drilling programme. “Eni originally wanted contractors to offer support vessels from February,” we hear.

“But it now wants support vessels between April and July.” Saipem 10000 is today working for Eni offshore Indonesia and will need at least 25 days to sail to Indian waters.

But the consortium at AN-DWN-2003/2 is determined to use this rig to drill the Phase-I committed wells, saving huge amounts. Eni hired Saipem 10000 in 2006 on a $390m three-year contract that began at the end of 2009.

This rate is equivalent to around $360,000/day and is much lower than today’s market rate of around $585,000/day. Elsewhere, in Indian deep waters, drilling is on the rise.

Last December (2010), Vantage Drilling-owned rig Platinum Explorer began a five-year ONGC contract at $590,500/day. Platinum is today drilling for ONGC at KG-DWN-2002/1.

Transocean-owned drillship Discoverer India also reached India last December to begin her 10 year contract with Reliance at $508,000/day and is drilling well MN-A1 for Reliance at Mahanadi deepwater block MN-DWN-98/2.