Petrobras plans to launch a new tender for two ultra-deepwater drilling rigs
Brazilian state-controlled company Petrobras plans to launch a new tender in the next few weeks in an effort to charter up to two ultra-deepwater drilling rigs to operate in the Santos basin pre-salt province, as it looks to take advantage of the recent market downturn, CIMC RAFFLES said in its press release.
Sources told Upstream that Petrobras is expected to issue the new tender either in late October or early November.
Petrobras will ask contractors to submit modern sixth and seventh generation DP3 rigs, fully equipped with managed pressure drilling systems and able to operate in water depths of more than 2000 metres.
Petrobras is said to favour three-year charter deals with options to renew for an additional three years, with deliveries taking place in the second half of 2015.
The tender would also reflect Petrobras fears that some of the 28 ultra-deepwater rigs ordered with Sete Brasil may fall behind schedule.
“It makes perfect sense for Petrobras to go to the market right now. Dayrates are spiralling down and there is no company in the world that knows how to force prices down like Petrobras does,” said one source. A great number of newbuild units will be available for charter next year, and Petrobras expects to take advantage of what will likely be a fierce competition in a softening rig market to secure lower rates, according to another source.
Transocean won a contract with Petrobras earlier this year for the drillship Dhirubhai Deep-water KG1 for a dayrate of $440,000.
The rig is currently in Cape Town, South Africa, undergoing a special survey following a voyage from India upon completion of a five-year charter with Reliance Industries for a dayrate of $510,000.
The unit is expected to arrive in Brazil later this year to begin its three-year contract with Petrobras.
“The dayrate proposed for the Dhirubhai Deepwater KG1 sent shockwaves around the industry and was definitely a turning point.
“I suspect Petrobras will be expecting prices in that same ballpark in the new tender,” said a source from a rig contractor.
It is understood that Petrobras will give contractors until December to submit their commercial proposals, but the exact date will only be known when the oil giant officially sends out invitation letters for the tender.
Upstream understands that Petrobras wants to use one more rig in the emerging Sergipe-Alagoas basin play, and another two in the area of the pre-salt province being developed under a transfer of rights from the federal government, which includes the Buzios field.
Several drilling companies recently presented offers in a separate Petrobras market inquiry for the charter of rigs to be deployed exclusively in the giant Libra pre-salt area.
Seadrill is said to be frontrunner for two contracts, with dayrates understood to be in the region of $515,000 for the West Tellus and West Carina, although this includes the cost of installing MPD and other upgrades.
Net dayrates were once again calculated at about $450,000 once technical compliance and MPD spending was discounted.
The Libra consortium is also mulling awarding a contract for a third unit, Ensco’s DS-10, which was offered at a somewhat lower rate but a longer delivery schedule.
The West Tellus is currently stacked in the Canary Islands, while the West Carina and the DS-10 are both under construction in South Korea.
Some sources suggested Seadrill would struggle to deliver the West Carina in May, as promised.