Deepwater drilling contractor Seadrill on Wednesday announced that it has entered into a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with Sonangol’s Empresa de Serviços e Sondagens de Angola.
The JV, which will function under the name Sonadrill, will operate drillships in Angola’s important deepwater basin for an initial period of five years.
Both companies will provide two existing drillships to Sonadrill. Sonangol’s drillships, Libongos and Quenguela, are currently being built at DSME shipyard in Korea. They are seventh generation high spec ultra deepwater drillships, and are expected to be delivered in the first half of 2019.
Seadrill will manage and operate the four drillships on behalf of Sonadrill. The company will also manage the delivery and mobilization to Angolan waters of the Libongos and Quenguela drillships under a separate Commissioning and Mobilization Agreement with Sonangol.
Seadrill’s CEO Anton Dibowitz said in a statement: “We are excited to have been selected by Sonangol to manage their newbuild drillships and to partner with them in pursuing opportunities in this important deepwater basin. Sonadrill will give us the opportunity to gain incremental access to a market that is expected to show significant growth over the next years, further strengthen our relationship with key customers and provides an attractive opportunity to continue expanding our fleet of premium ultra-deepwater rigs.”
The announcement is another sign of the renewed interest in Angolan oil and gas exploration and production, accompanying swift changes in the legal framework, spearheaded by president João Lourenço.