Northern Drilling extends option on DSME drillship

Northern Drilling extends option on DSME drillship

John Fredriksen’s rig investment company Northern Drilling has agreed to extend the option it has at DSME for drillship Cobalt Explorer.

The option has been extended by around four months against a payment of $12m, which will be deducted against the first instalment of $105m should the option be exercised.

Cobalt Explorer was originally order by Vantage Drilling, and terminated in 2015. Northern Drilling picked up the $350m option in May this year, when it agreed to acquire drillship pair West Aquila and West Libra for $296m each.

Northern Drilling will need to exercise the option on Cobalt Explorer by March/April 2019, and delivery is scheduled for 2021 or earlier if required.

“The Company continues to view the option for Cobalt Explorer as attractive and being in the money. Asset values for 7th generation drillships have strengthened since the Company’s entrance into the deep water market six months ago. Flexible delivery schedule until 2021 from reputable yards for similar assets is also becoming increasingly challenging to replicate,” Northern Drilling said in a statement.

Earlier this week Scott McReaken took over as chief executive officer of the company, succeeding Gunnar Winther Eliassen.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.

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