Under the contract agreement, GSF will supply the drilling and sub-sea equipment while Keppel FELS provides the design, engineering and construction of the hull as well as the accommodation quarters for 180 men and marine equipment.
The rig, to be named the GSF Development Driller III, is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2009.
GSF has chosen to build the state-of-the-art semisubmersible (semi) to the proprietary design, DSS-51, jointly designed and developed by Keppel's Deepwater Technology Group (DTG) and Marine Structure Consultants (MSC).
Mr. Choo Chiau Beng, Chairman and CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine Limited, the parent company of Keppel FELS, said, "GSF and Keppel share a longstanding relationship which dates back to 1987. To date, Keppel FELS and GSF have co-operated and completed six new generation jackups that are still performing extremely well in the North Sea, Eastern Canada and South America.
"I am happy that we are now working on our first semi newbuild project together, and I am confident that the highly efficient DSS-51 rig will meet GSF's charter commitment on time and within budget."
Commenting on the demand for deepwater mobile drilling rigs, Mr. Choo said, "The fundamentals for deepwater exploration and production are strong with consensus amongst operators, drillers and service providers that the market for exploration and production of hydrocarbons will be sustained over the next few years."
The demand for semisubmersibles is expected to rise from 141 to 167 units while the marketed supply remains inelastic from 152 to 153. Even as utilization levels approach full capacity, global demand for the mobile offshore drilling units shows no sign of slowing down.
Said Mr. Jon A. Marshall, President & CEO of GSF, "We are looking forward to working again with Keppel FELS on our newbuild semi. Keppel FELS has a track record of well designed and built rigs that have been delivered on schedule.
"In the last few years, GSF has sent a number of rigs to Keppel for repair and upgrading. They have been very responsive and professional. I am certain that the new semi will be a great addition to our fleet."
The DSS-51 rig is maintenance-friendly with excellent safety features well suited for both exploration and development drilling as well as workover operations. With a dynamically positioned system (DPS 2), it can drill wells down to 10,000 m (30,000 ft) and operate in water depths of up to 3,048 m (10,000 ft) in environments such as offshore Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and South East Asia.
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