Awilco Drilling rig still in limbo at Hartlepool

Awilco Drilling rig still in limbo at Hartlepool

Awilco Drilling is still waiting for Apache North Sea to give the OK for the semi-submersible drilling rig WilPhoenix to resume the remaining 22 months of its three-year contract after undergoing maintenance work.

WilPhoenix was demobilised from its location on November 17 last year and arrived at a yard in Hartlepool, north-east England, a week later. The rig will remain at the yard for the time being, Awilco said today.

In mid-February, Awilco said the yard work was “substantially complete” and hoped the rig would resume its contract with Apache that month. A hull and machinery inspection performed at the yard by DNV had “no significant findings” and the class society re-certified the rig for a further five years of operation.

As of February 11, the rig was awaiting final project acceptance by Apache North Sea, before the remaining contract period could re-commence. Almost two months later, acceptance has still not been granted.

The rig will earn $387,500 per day during the remaining 22 months of the Apache contract, which includes an optional 27-month extension period, but is earning a dayrate of zero while it remains in the yard.

A new 5 ram 15,000-psi blow-out preventer (BOP) and new BOP control system was installed during the rig’s yard stay, along with a new high-pressure, high-temperature ‘choke and kill’ manifold, new air compressors and vent lines and upgrades to the Normar carrier.

All the rig’s major drilling equipment was overhauled in the project, which Awilco says will be completed under budget.

“Awilco Drilling is working expediently to close out the yard stay in co-operation with Apache North Sea Ltd. The estimated total cost for the yard stay and the installation of the new BOP [blow-out preventer] continues to be below the budget of $42.5m,” the company said in a filing to the Oslo stock exchange today.

WilPhoenix is one of Awilco Drilling’s two enhanced pacesetter semi-submersibles and is equipped for drilling in water depths up to 1,200 feet.

The other rig, WilHunter, is currently in hot lay-up. In its financial results for Q4 2015, Awilco said it has a contract backlog of $258m, and intends to focus on securing new work for WilHunter.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.

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