Venture has extended its contract with Noble for the semi-submersible drilling rig, the Noble Ton van Langeveld, for a 12 month period beyond its current contract which was to expire in mid-2008. Simultaneously, Venture has entered into a flexible rig sharing agreement with BG Group in respect of the NTvL, by which Venture and BG and will share rig slot over the period of Venture's existing contract and the additional twelve-month contract extension. Prior to being deployed on Venture's drilling activities during the first half of 2007, the NTvL will be taken into dry dock for equipment upgrades.
Venture has also entered into an agreement with Noble for the delivery of a new-build heavy-duty harsh environment jackup rig during the first half of 2009 for a two year commitment. The rig will be available for the 2009 - 2011 drilling campaign.
The new HDHE rig is to be a Friede & Goldman JU-2000E design capable of drilling in water depth up to 400 ft. This design will allow it to operate across the vast majority of Venture's asset portfolio, in both the Southern and Central North Sea. This environment is more commonly associated with semisubmersible units and the deployment of a jackup rig will deliver greater operational flexibility and other commercial benefits for Venture.
Commenting on the news, Mike Wagstaff, Chief Executive of Venture, said:
"We are delighted to have secured long term access to flexible, high quality drilling services through 2011, giving Venture the ability to execute its North Sea development program into the next decade. This contract, which will bring the first dedicated newly built drilling rig into the UKCS for many years, represents a significant long-term commitment to the North Sea."
"These new contracts consolidate Venture's long-term partnership with Noble, going back to 2003, and represent a continuation of our successful supply chain management strategy. This partnership, with the industry leader in drilling safety performance, cements access to high-performing, efficient and above all safe, drilling rigs for the foreseeable future."
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