London: Economou-led Ocean Rig has delayed delivery of two drillships it has under construction at Samsung Heavy Industries, South Korea.
The original contracts for the two vessels, originally scheduled to arrive in 2017, have been extended by an unspecified length of time.
The value of the contracts was also increased, Samsung said in an exchange filing today, but did not disclose by how much.
The delay has added fuel to market rumours that Ocean Rig could swap its order for two drillships to a batch of eight suezmax and aframax tankers. Analysts and Ocean Rig spokespeople have so far denied the rumours.
The Cyprus-based company has three seventh-generation ultra-deepwater drillships on order at the South Korean yard: the two newbuildings in question plus Ocean Rig Santorini, which is due to arrive in Q2 2016.
The Ocean Rig Apollo was delivered in January and is currently undergoing mobilisation and acceptance testing prior to commencing a contract for Total in offshore Congo in Q3 this year. The Santorini has yet to secure an employment contract.
Ocean Rig owns and operates a live fleet of eight ultra-deepwater drillships and two semi-submersible rigs.