New York-listed Transocean has been awarded a ground-breaking $252 million contract by US independent Beacon Offshore to charter a new ultra-deepwater drillship rig for high-pressure drilling duties in the Gulf of Mexico.

The much-flagged deal for a rig still under construction — a rarity in today's threadbare drilling market — will see Transocean provide Beacon with its drillship Deepwater Atlas for two phases of development drilling operations on the privately owned player's ultra-deepwater Shenandoah project in the US Gulf of Mexico.