Construction progress has been slower than expected, although the DSME yard has made alterations to its project teams and third-party service providers, leading to improvements over the past month. Also, various resource-intensive projects have been completed, allowing DSME to focus increasingly on the Cat D newbuild program.
The first rig, Songa Equinox, is expected to be delivered early next spring, followed later in the year by Songa Endurance, Songa Encourage, and finally Songa Enabler.
Base case for the rig transits from South Korea to Norway is a “wet transit,” under which the rigs move using their own power. But Songa is also considering faster options that include tug assistance or transit by heavy-lift vessel for one or more of the newbuilds.
The company estimates its average rig cost on a “ready-to-drill” basis at $660 million-plus, offset by a $40 million/rig mobilization fee from Statoil.
Songa Offshore adds that it expects reduced demand for floating drilling rigs offshore Norway next year. Oil companies in the region have been allowing options for drilling contract extensions to lapse, or trying to find sub-let slots for existing units with other operators. As a result, several rigs will likely depart the Norwegian sector in the near future.