Ensco has taken delivery of ENSCO 8502, the third of the Company's seven ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rigs being constructed by Keppel FELS Limited in Singapore.
After mobilizing to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to complete deepwater sea trials and final outfitting, ENSCO 8502 will commence a two-year drilling contract with a subsidiary of Nexen. The contract may be extended to a three or four year term at Nexen's request. Drilling operations are scheduled to commence late in second quarter 2010. A subsidiary of Nexen has also contracted ENSCO 8501, which commenced operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in October, 2009.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dan Rabun, commented, "Delivery of our third ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rig in the ENSCO 8500 Series® is an important milestone for our deepwater expansion. We are now more than half way through our construction program and are on schedule to deliver the fourth semisubmersible in the 8500 Series later this year.
"We anticipate a smooth startup and will have four ultra-deepwater semisubmersibles contributing to revenue when ENSCO 8502 commences operations."
Combined with the ENSCO 7500 ultra-deepwater semisubmersible drilling rig currently working in Australia, the fleet of seven ENSCO 8500 Series® rigs will make Ensco a leader in ultra-deepwater semisubmersible drilling rigs capable of operating in water depths of 7500' or more.
The proprietary design of the ENSCO 8500 Series® was developed with extensive input from customers to address the drilling requirements for virtually every deepwater field around the world. The design includes a 35,000' nominal rated drilling depth, 2 million pounds of hoisting capacity, 8,000 tons of variable deck load and an open layout well suited for subsea completion activities. Improved visibility from the open deck configuration also enhances safety.
The uniform design of the ENSCO 8500 Series® streamlines operational functionality, repairs, training, spare part requirements and maintenance, while also providing flexibility for customer specific enhancements. In particular, the 8500 Series may be modified to drill and complete wells in water depths up to 10,000'.
Tong Chong Heong, CEO of Keppel FELS, said, "Keppel has supported and moved closely in step with our customers as the offshore market's needs evolved over the years.
"In particular, we take pride in delivering to our customers, not only on time and within budget, but also quality products that are ready to be deployed for operations, smoothly and safely. We are confident that, like her sister rigs, ENSCO 8502 will be ready to drill on location shortly after she arrives in the Gulf of Mexico."
Keppel Offshore & Marine Group, through its global network of yards delivering on its 'Near Market, Near Customer' strategy, constructed ten of Ensco's world-class jackups, which form a substantial part of the rig owner's premium fleet of 42-jackups.
When the ENSCO 8500 Series® is completed, Keppel-built rigs will make up 30% of the leading driller's premium fleet. Construction of the next four rigs remains on schedule with expected deliveries extending from the fourth quarter of 2010 into 2012.
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