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Statoil cancels Transocean rig contract

Lease for operations in the deep waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico was slated to end in May.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Statoil cancels Transocean rig contract
Norwegian energy company Statoil cancels rig contract with Transocean roughly five months early. Photo courtesy of Transocean.

ZUG, Switzerland, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Rig company Transocean said a contract for rig work in the deep waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico was cancelled by Norwegian energy company Statoil.

Total revenues for the rig company were $1.61 billion, down 14 percent from the previous quarter.

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Lower crude oil prices means energy companies have less capital to invest in oil and gas exploration, a trend reflected in a decline in the number of rigs actively engaged in exploration and production.

Transocean said Statoil terminated its contract for the Discoverer Americas drillship.

"The rig's contract was scheduled to end in May 2016," the rig company said. "Transocean will receive an early termination payment fully compensating the company as provided for in the contract."

In a fleet status report from October, Transocean listed Discoverer Americas as leased for the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The lease rate for Statoil was $590,000 per day, a 19 percent reduction from the previous lease.

Transocean in August cancelled plans to issue stock dividends, citing the deterioration in the offshore drilling market. The company added it's now been delisted from the SIX Swiss Exchange.

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There was no comment from Statoil on the contract cancellation.

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