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UK-based driller Ensco plc (ESV - Analyst Report) has ordered yet another advanced-capability DP3 ultra-deepwater drillship as part of its continuing speculative newbuild contracting spree. The construction cost is estimated at $625 million, including commissioning, systems integration testing, project management and tubular.
 
The newbuild – ENSCO DS-10 – represents the eighth Samsung DP3 drillship in the Ensco fleet. It is based on the Samsung GF 12000 hull design of the two existing newbuilds – DS-8 and DS-9. ENSCO DS-10, which will be built at the Samsung Heavy Industries, Co. Ltd. shipyard in South Korea, is expected to enhance the benefits of Ensco’s fleet standardization strategy. 
 
The drillship is expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2015. The agreement consists of an option for another drillship of the same design.
 
The latest unit will be capable of operating in water depth of about 12,000 feet and drilling to a vertical depth of 40,000 feet. It will be initially equipped to function in a depth of 10,000 feet. The 755-feet long and 125-feet wide ENSCO DS-10 will provide a 1,250-ton hoisting system with improved offline capability.
 
ENSCO DS-10 will be outfitted with retractable thrusters, increased safety and environmental features, advanced dynamic positioning capabilities as well as enhanced drilling and completion functionality, together with below-main-deck riser storage, triple fluid systems and an offline conditioning ability.
 
The drillship comprises a 15,000-psi subsea well control system with seven rams and can hold a second BOP stack. Currently, Ensco has four active DP3 drillships operating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West Africa. Another three are contracted into 2016 with the fourth contracted into 2018. ENSCO DS-7, the fifth drillship, expected to be delivered towards the end of the current year, is slated to work for Total SA (TOT - Analyst Report) in 2016.
 
Ensco carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) stocks – Enerplus Corporation (ERF - Snapshot Report) and Gulfmark Offshore, Inc. (GLF - Snapshot Report) –appear attractive for the short term.

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