Shell and Frontier Team Up to Build Drillships

Shell EP Offshore Ventures Ltd. and Frontier Drillships Ltd., a subsidiary of Frontier Drilling, have signed a deepwater/arctic drillship Joint Venture agreement.

Under the agreement, Shell and Frontier will build and rollout a new drillship concept, known as the "Bully" rig. GustoMSC designed the "Bully" as a customization of its proprietary PRD12,000 design drillship, adapting the unit for a Huisman-Itrec Multi-Purpose Tower drilling system.

The "Bully" rig design offers a flexible, smaller but highly capable, vessel suited for deepwater and arctic drilling, while reducing the construction and operational costs compared to other deepwater drill ships of similar capacity.

The first vessel for the Shell/Frontier Joint Venture is expected to be delivered by early 2010.

The vessel will feature an ice class hull, allowing safe and efficient operation in arctic conditions. The design calls for less crew and fuel. The new drillships have a significantly reduced environmental impact due to lower emissions through reduced fuel consumption, high efficiency/low emission engines and lower steel use for construction.

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