Shell has awarded Maersk Drilling a contract to charter the seventh-generation drillship Maersk Viking for development drilling offshore Malaysia.

The firm charter is for four development wells at the Anglo-Dutch supermajor’s producing Gumusut-Kakap project.

The contract, which is expected to start in December, has an estimated duration of 150 days.

Maersk on Wednesday confirmed the charter, which is worth approximately $34 million including mobilisation fee, carries five one-well options for work offshore Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam.

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“We’re delighted to confirm that Maersk Viking will return to Shell Malaysia for work on the Gumusut-Kakap project,” Maersk Drilling chief operating officer Morten Kelstrup said.

“In this way, we will be able to build further on the great collaboration that the rig’s highly capable crew has established during its current campaign with Brunei Shell Petroleum.”

Deal struck

Malaysia and Brunei earlier this week signed a unitisation agreement for the Gumusut-Kakap and Geronggong-Jagus East fields that straddle their maritime boundary.

This agreement paves the way for Shell to potentially tie back Jagus East to Gumusut-Kakap and for Brunei Shell Petroleum – its 50:50 joint development with the host government - to exploit the deep-water Geronggong field.

The Maersk Viking is a high-spec ultra-deepwater drillship, which was delivered in 2013 from Samsung Heavy Industries. It is currently operating offshore Brunei for BSP.

The drillship’s next contract is a $14.5 million lump-sum job for Korea National Oil Corporation that is scheduled to start in June, according to VesselsValue.