Total contracts Pacific Drilling's newbuild ultra-deepwater drillship

By Phaedra Friend Troy

French major Total (NYSE:TOT) has contracted the newly built ultra-deepwater Pacific Scirocco drillship from Pacific Drilling SA for work offshore Nigeria.

The letter of award was converted into a definitive one-year contract for the Pacific Scirocco worth $200 million, which excludes "client-requested modifications and miscellaneous adjustments," the company reported. The dayrate for the ultra-deepwater drilling rig is $470,000.

Furthermore, options for an additional four years of work at an "escalating dayrate" could push the contract to more than $1 billion.

The newbuild drillship was delivered from Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea in April of this year, and the contract is scheduled to commence in the third quarter of 2011.

Capable of drilling in waters up to 12,000 feet deep, the Samsung 12000-design Pacific Scirocco can accommodate 200 people and is designed for dual activity.

An emerging offshore drilling contractor, Pacific Drilling also has two newbuild drillships, the Pacific Bora and Pacific Santa Ana, contracted for work with Chevron. The recently completed Pacific Mistral, and the under construction Pacific Khamsin and Pacific Sharav are not yet been formally contracted.

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