New deal on West Navion

June 4, 1999, 18:55 CEST

The charter for the West Navion drill ship was cancelled by Statoil earlier today (4 June), but a one-year assignment for this newbuilding has been agreed.

"We want to get this unit into work," says Mads Grinrød, vice president for drilling for Statoil, in explaining the new charter.

"With the new technology West Navion incorporates, it would be a shame to leave it lying idle. So we've gone to considerable lengths. And we've invested a lot of time in this unit."

Statoil and Norwegian drilling contractor Smedvig agreed a five-year charter for West Navion in January 1997, with options for extensions. Built in South Korea, the vessel is currently being outfitted at Offshore & Marine in Sandnes south of Stavanger.

The drill ship was originally due to be ready for delivery on 1 July 1998, but Smedvig's latest plans call for it to be operational in the fourth quarter of this year.

Statoil had the right to cancel the charter 270 days after West Navion's original delivery date.

The day rate will be USD 185,000, unchanged from the original figure. Statoil is currently working on a drilling programme for the ship, and Mr Grinrød says it will primarily be used off Norway.

West Navion is owned 50-50 by the group's Navion offshore and shipping subsidiary and by Smedvig, which also serves as manager for the vessel.

The new charter is subject to the approval of the Smedvig and Navion boards.