The drillship, which is designed for working in water depths up to 12,000 feet (outfitted initially for 10,000 feet) and constructing wells up to 40,000 feet deep, was named to reflect both the Norwegian heritage of exploration and one of its key operational roles for Hydro, which is based in Norway.
"With the most advanced offshore drilling capabilities in the world, the Discoverer Americas is aptly named as an exploration and development tool for our client," said Rob Saltiel, Senior Vice President, North and South America Unit. "Everyone involved with designing, constructing and operating this state-of-the-art rig is working extremely hard to making that vision a reality."
Transocean has been awarded a four-year drilling contract for the Discoverer Americas, which is expected to commence drilling operations by the third quarter of 2009, following shipyard construction, sea trials, mobilization and customer acceptance. Construction of the dynamically positioned, double-hull drillship will take place at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. (DSME) yard in Okpo, South Korea.
Already under construction at the DSME yard is one of two other newbuild enhanced Enterprise-class drillships, the Discoverer Clear Leader. It has a five-year contract from Chevron Corporation. In addition, the Discoverer Inspiration will be built and will work for Chevron under a five-year contract that can be converted to a three-year contract.
All three of the newbuild drillships are slated to work in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico with the following estimated start dates: Discoverer Clear Leader for Chevron in the second quarter of 2009; Discoverer Americas for Hydro by the third quarter of 2009; and Discoverer Inspiration for Chevron in the first quarter of 2010.
The three units are enhanced versions of the company's three existing Enterprise-class drillships, which have set drilling records in recent years, including the world water-depth drilling record of 10,011 feet held by the Discoverer Deep Seas.
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