Ensco Semisub Sets Sail from GOM

Ensco's subsidiary has sublet ENSCO 8503, a new ultra-deepwater semisubmersible drilling rig that recently mobilized to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. ENSCO 8503 is scheduled to begin sea trials shortly.

Under the sublet agreement, once rig acceptance procedures have been completed in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, ENSCO 8503 will mobilize to offshore French Guiana to commence drilling operations for a subsidiary of Tullow on behalf of itself and its coventurers in the license (Shell, Total, and Northpet Investments). Acceptance procedures will be witnessed jointly by Tullow and Cobalt International, the original customer for ENSCO 8503.

Mobilization to offshore French Guiana is scheduled to begin in early 2011. The combined mobilization and demobilization will be approximately 50 days in total and drilling operations in French Guiana are estimated to be up to three months in duration. The day rate under the sublet agreement is approximately $440,000. The mobilization and demobilization rate is approximately 75% of the day rate. Following the sublet period, which ends upon completion of demobilization back to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the rig will resume its contract with Cobalt. The two-year term under the original ENSCO 8503 drilling contract with Cobalt will not be reduced by the sublet period.

Senior Vice President Carey Lowe commented, "The sublet agreement provides many benefits to all parties. Tullow is contracting a state-of-the-art drilling rig for a short-term assignment. Cobalt now has additional time to secure permits in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico before incurring certain drilling costs and Ensco has gained a new deepwater customer in a new market. Innovative solutions like this underscore Ensco's commitment to being the offshore driller of choice."

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