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Dolphin Drilling rig to sling its hook and peel out of Nigeria on its way to Indian gig

Dolphin Drilling rig to sling its hook and peel out of Nigeria on its way to Indian gig


Following various trials and tribulations weathered throughout its stay in Nigeria, a semi-submersible rig has cast off and is making a beeline for Indian waters, where it will embark on its new drilling assignment, according to Dolphin Drilling, a Norway-headquartered offshore drilling contractor.

The rigmarole saga, which Dolphin Drilling’s termination of the Blackford Dolphin rig’s contract with Lagos-based General Hydrocarbons Limited (GHL) and the request for arbitration to pursue the recovery of sums remaining due by GHL set in motion, seems to be winding down.

The road the rig traversed to come to this point has been paved with difficulties after a judge decided to uphold an interim injunction order, which the Nigerian oil and gas firm obtained to maintain the status quo and stop the rig owner from demobilizing or removing the semi-submersible rig.

The Norwegian player, which planned to seek the discharge of the interim injunction with the appointed arbitrator, managed to get the ex parte order of arrestment that was in force against its semi-submersible rig lifted last month. However, the offshore drilling player still had to tackle the Nigerian court proceedings to oppose claims Technova Africa International (Technova) made.

While disclosing the submission of a bank guarantee of $20 million and the removal of the Blackford Dolphin rig from Nigerian waters, Dolphin Drilling underlined that the rig will continue the transit to India to begin its next drilling contract. The rig owner is now negotiating a debt facility underwritten by DNB Markets, part of DNB Bank, to bridge the funding for the security required.

The semi-sub was scheduled to depart Nigeria and go to India to embark on its drilling campaign with Oil India Limited in the second half of 2024. This three-well drilling campaign is anticipated to take 14 months, representing a firm value of $154 million for the rig and associated services. The deal also entails an optional period of seven months.

The 1974-built Blackford Dolphin is a semi-submersible drilling rig of an enhanced Aker H-3 design and can accommodate 120 people. Dolphin Drilling is currently taking steps to optimize its fleet. While one of the firm’s rigs is in Las Palmas for reactivation ahead of its work in the UK, another is being sold for recycling.

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Published: 03-07-2024

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