Italian contractor Saipem has decided that the semi-submersible drilling rig Scarabeo 9 should be towed from Yantai CIMC Raffles and completed at a yard in Singapore.
Yantai CIMC Raffles and Saipem have reached a new agreement to allow the rig’s early delivery, sources said.
They explained that Yantai CIMC Raffles had proposed to deliver the Scarabeo 9 drilling unit by March next year but Saipem felt moving it to Keppel Fels in Singapore would provide greater schedule certainty.
The Chinese yard plans to wrap up five other semi-submersible rigs, including three newbuilds for China Oilfield Services Ltd and two others for Brazil’s drilling outfit Schahin, sources said.
The first two of the five semisubs are expected to be ready for delivery next month.
Saipem is said to be pushing for the delivery of its Frigstad D90-design Scarabeo 9 in the early part of 2011.
The Italian outfit set out to explore other yard options earlier this year after failing to reach a consensus with Yantai CIMC Raffles on the delivery date.
Senior Saipem executives were considering at one point in time, transferring the remaining fabrication work on the semisub to SembCorp Marine’s Jurong Shipyard in Singapore, sources said.
However, Singapore’s Keppel Fels eventually trumped its compatriot for a deal to complete the beleaguered rig project.
Scarabeo 9 is due to be towed in early October to Singapore. Keppel Fels is expected to undertake final work, including the addition of a thruster and testing and tuning of the drilling equipment provided by Aker Solutions, a source said.
One source said this process could take up to six months. Sea trials also need to be carried out.
Construction of the sixth-generation semisub had experienced multiple delays since the newbuild was first awarded to Yantai CIMC Raffles in 2006.
The rig is understood to be contracted for a drilling campaign with Repsol off Cuba from late 2010 or early 2011.
Saipem took over Scarabeo 9 after buying out Singapore-based Frigstad Offshore’s interest in the deep-water drilling unit.