Transocean Ltd. (NYSE:RIG) announced that the newbuild ultra-deepwater drillship Discoverer Americas has commenced operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico for Statoil Gulf of Mexico, a subsidiary of Statoil ASA, under a four-year drilling contract.
The dynamically positioned double-hulled Discoverer Americas is an enhanced version of Transocean's three predecessor Enterprise-class drillships, which have set deepwater drilling records in recent years, including the world water-depth drilling record of 10,011 feet set by the Discoverer Deep Seas in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
One of 22 Ultra-Deepwater Floaters in the Transocean fleet, the Discoverer Americas features Transocean's patented dual-activity drilling technology, which allows for parallel drilling operations designed to save time and money in deepwater well construction, compared with conventional rigs. The dual-activity technology, along with a new and enhanced top drive system, a high-pressure mud-pump system and other unique features of the drillship target the drilling of wells up to 40,000 feet of total depth. The rig also has a variable deckload of more than 20,000 metric tons and the capability of drilling in water depths of up to 12,000 feet.
In addition to the Discoverer Americas, Transocean has six newbuild Ultra-Deepwater Floaters in various stages of construction or preparation for initial contracts which are scheduled to commence operations in the next two years. Three of those vessels are the Discoverer Inspiration, Discoverer India and Discoverer Luanda, which are also enhanced Enterprise-class drillships. The others include the semisubmersible rig Development Driller III and the drillships Deepwater Champion and Dhirubhai Deepwater KG2 (owned by a joint venture company with Pacific Drilling Limited).