Zarubezhneft secures rig for Cuba

Russian explorer Zarubezhneft has secured semi-submersible rig Songa Mercur for its upcoming drilling campaign off Cuba under a charter deal with Norwegian contractor Songa Offshore.

The rig has been fixed for a firm period of 325 days on a contract worth a minimum of around $88 million, including mobilisation costs, to yield an overall dayrate of $270,770.

However, Songa said in a bourse statement revenue from the deal may increase depending on the start date for rig operations and a possible extension of the drilling programme for well testing or other work.

The contract is due to start on 1 July when the semisub will be mobilised from Malaysia to Trinidad, where it will be moored at a standby rate until scheduled start of drilling in late November.

Zarubezhneft is among explorers taking up the chase for hydrocarbons off Cuba after Spanish player Repsol abandoned its abortive exploration bid following a recent dry well on the deep-water Jaguey prospect off the South American country.

The rig used for that well, Saipem’s Scarabeo 9, is now being employed by Malaysia’s Petronas and Russian explorer Gazprom Neft to drill a probe as part of a planned two-well campaign in Cuban waters, with results expected next month. PetroVietnam is also reported to be vying for a rig slot in Cuba.

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