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Company history

Odfjell Drilling was founded in 1973 and began operating as a drilling contractor in 1974, with the first Aker H3 semi-submersible Deep Sea Driller. Over the past 40 years the business has built a rock solid reputation as a trusted drilling partner and services supplier – one that is focused on delivering quality, value and results for its growing customer base.

The firm has extensive contracting experience covering all aspects of operations and the manning of fixed and mobile installations, well services and platform engineering work. Odfjell Drilling is a truly international business, currently conducting projects in more than 20 countries, and has operational expertise of semi-submersibles, jack-up platforms and drillships, as well as modular drilling and well intervention rigs.

From the early seventies through to the present day, Odfjell Drilling has prided itself on pioneering new standards of excellence with respect to safety, health and the environment, while also leading the way in the continual evolution of the latest drilling technology. Our track record, particularly in the demanding environment of the North Sea, clearly demonstrates our commitment to safe, effective and responsible operations.

We are now proud to be a preferred partner for our clients, chosen for our experience and expertise.

Tracing the roots of Odfjell Drilling
Odfjell Drilling can trace its roots back a century, to the formation of a number of private companies by the Odfjell family in 1914. Initially these businesses were focused on transporting timber and operating dry cargo vessels. However, since 1937, when the first small chemical tanker was built, Odfjell began the process of continually increasing its focus on the transportation of specialised cargoes, mainly chemicals and liquid gases. Today the company is known as JO Tankers and is the third largest chemical tanker transportation company in the world. 
In 1969/70 Odfjell expanded into the offshore drilling market.

Key milestones:
1969/70: Development of a new semi-submersible, self-propelled drilling platform. The result became known as the H-3 platform – a design that was taken over by the Aker Group and became the world’s most famous semi-submersible design, with a total of 28 units built. Odfjell participated in the building of 10 H-3 rigs and held part ownership in seven vessels.

1973: Odfjell Drilling was formally established in Bergen by the Odfjell family (as Odfjell Drilling & Consulting Company AS). At this time the company had entered into two major drilling contracts for the first two H-3 units under construction. Deepsea Driller, the first ever H-3, was delivered on 15th February 1974 for a two-year contract with ELF, while Deepsea Saga was delivered in 1975 for a two-year drilling contract with Saga Petroleum.

Against a background of increasing offshore exploration activities, the company became involved in the development, construction and management of several semi-submersibles and jack-ups, both in the North Sea and worldwide. Since 1973, Odfjell Drilling has been involved in the construction and operation of more than 30 drilling and production units.

1979: Awarded the drilling contract on the Statfjord "B" platform. This marked another milestone for Odfjell Drilling, as the firm became a fully comprehensive Norwegian drilling contractor. The contract was the largest in Norwegian drilling history, and also the first Norwegian production-drilling contract. The company has subsequently grown to become one of the leading operators in this segment, securing a share of more than 40% of the Norwegian platform drilling market.

1981: Awarded a five-year drilling contract with Saga Petroleum in Benin, West Africa for the jack-up Amazone. The contract included the training of local employees both on and offshore.

Following site assistance and commissioning at CFEM in Dunkerque, Odfjell Drilling mobilised the then largest jack-up ever built, the STC Cicero. The platform secured a two-year drilling contract in the UK.

1983: Took delivery of the next generation of the H-3 platform - the Aker H-3.2 design semi-submersible Deepsea Bergen.

1984: Commenced production-drilling activities with the semi-submersible Deepsea Pioneer (ex. Deepsea Saga) with a five-year contract with Hamilton Brothers Oil & Gas Ltd on the UK Argyll field, offshore UK. 

1987: Awarded a four-year production drilling contract with Statoil for the condeep newbuild Gullfaks “C”. Contract included two years of engineering, site assistance and commissioning prior to drilling mobilization in May 1989.

1989: Awarded a four-year production-drilling contract with BP Norway for the new Gyda installation. Contract included one year of engineering, site assistance and commissioning prior to drilling mobilization in Q1 1990.

Opened the Odfjell Drilling Singapore office, securing the company’s first drilling contract in South East Asia. Over the next six years, Odfjell Drilling was part owner and manager of several drillships, semi-submersibles and a jack-up in the region. 

During the 1980s and the 1990s, Odfjell Drilling engaged in offshore activities with semi-submersibles, drillships and jack-ups in the UK, the Mediterranean, offshore West and South Africa and in South East Asia. Following the company’s substantial increase in North Sea activities from 1995/96, Odfjell Drilling decided to reduce its international activity and concentrate on the ‘home market’.

1993: Odfjell expanded into the Well Intervention/Snubbing market through the purchase of two K340 units. Following activities onshore in Germany, Odfjell succeeded in winning an eight-year well intervention contract with Statoil in 1994.

1995: Acquired all the shares in Norwegian Drilling Management AS (DND). Odfjell Drilling has since, through Deutag Norge Drilling's contract with PPCoN, carried out drilling services on the Ekofisk field. Odfjell Drilling acquired 100% of Deutag Norge Drilling in September 2001, renaming the company Odfjell Norge Drilling AS.

The semi-submersible Deepsea Trym was purchased and upgraded to Norwegian regulatory requirements, securing a five-year contract with Statoil on the Gullfaks field from 1996.

Norsk Hydro awarded a long-term field contract for production drilling and maintenance at the Brage and Oseberg fields. The contract also included two new floating field installations, Njord and Visund, for delivery in 1997 and 1998 respectively.

2001: Signed an agreement to purchase the semi-submersible rig West Delta from Smedvig ASA. The rig was delivered in April 2001 and renamed Deepsea Delta.

2002: Awarded a three + three + three-year production drilling contract at the Greater Ekofisk Area by PPCoN, encompassing production drilling and maintenance on all installations.

2003: Awarded a three-year contract (with two one-year options) by Talisman Energy (UK), covering platform drilling and platform maintenance services in the UK.

In the same year, the company secured a year long contract for semi-submersible Deepsea Bergen with BP Exploration Operating Company Limited in the UK for the prestigious, and demanding, HPHT Rhum development project.

2004: Awarded contract for Deepsea Bergen with Marathon Norway for drilling on Alvheim, with drilling starting back-to-back with the BP Rhum project (duration 500 + 300 days). 
Awarded a drilling contract with Norsk Hydro for Deepsea Delta, covering an initial period of 18 months, plus an optional period of 36 months, starting summer 2004.

Award by Statoil of a four-year fixed, + three optional periods of two years, contract for platform drilling on Visund, Heidrun and Snorre A & B on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

2005: Awarded a pan-European contract by Shell for the provision of casing services and tubular rental for all of Shell’s European activities.

2006: Initiated the public company Odfjell Invest Ltd on Oslo Stock Exchange, with the main asset of a newbuild, highly-classed deepwater semi-submersible for delivery in Q1 2009.

Awarded a three-year fixed drilling contract for Deepsea Bergen from Statoil Norway, covering drilling on Halten Nordland and commencing in summer 2008.

2007: Awarded drilling contract with Statoil (through Odfjell Invest Ltd) for the sixth generation ultra deepwater semi-submersible Deepsea Atlantic under construction at Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering Co. Ltd., South Korea.

Odfjell Drilling entered into a three-year lease agreement with Det Norske ASA and Revus Energy ASA for the drilling rig Deepsea Delta, starting Q1 2009.

Declared an option for another sixth generation ultra deepwater semi-submersible - Deepsea Stavanger - at Daewoo, with delivery in Q2 2010.

2008: Awarded a two + one-year drilling contract for Deepsea Trym with StatoilHydro for commencement in Q1 2009.

Awarded a two + two-year extension to existing drilling and maintenance contract for Talisman Energy (UK) Limited’s North Sea platform activity.

Odfjell Drilling and Metro Exploration entered into a joint venture for the joint ownership of two ultra deepwater drillships, to be delivered from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in South Korea in Q2 and Q4 2011.

Odfjell Drilling entered into a four-year contract with Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO) for the operation of the Scorpion jack-up Offshore Freedom in the Arabian Gulf, commencing in Q2 2009.

2009: Odfjell Drilling entered into a four-year contract with Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO) for the operation of the Scorpion jack-up Offshore Intrepid in the Arabian Gulf, commencing in Q2 2009.

Odfjell Drilling was awarded a five-year contract with three two-year options from BP for drilling and maintenance services on the Clair, Andrew, Harding, Bruce and Magnus platforms on the UK continental shelf. Newbuild Deepsea Atlantic is delivered from DSME in February 2009 and contracted with StatoilHydro until 2013.

2010: The ultra deepwater semi-submersible Deepsea Stavanger entered into the first deepwater drilling campaign ever conducted in Tanzania, East Africa, with Ophir Energy in Partnership with BG group.

Odfjell Drilling awarded a two + three-year drilling contract for Deepsea Stavanger drilling on Block 18 in Angola, with BP back-to-back with the Ophir Tanzania program.

Contract extension with Talisman for the remaining option of two years, plus a new contract for a three-year option of one year each.

Awarded three-year frame agreement with Statoil for Mooring Services on Statoil operated mobile units worldwide.

Awarded three to five-year North Sea drilling contract for Deepsea Bergen with Statoil, commencing summer 2012 and including a one-year option.

2011: Odfjell Drilling is awarded a contract with BP for drilling operations offshore Angola for the ultra deepwater semisubmersible Deepsea Stavanger.
The ultra deepwater drillship Deepsea Metro I kicks off it's first operations offshore Tanzania while its sister vessel Deepsea Metro II is mobilised for drilling services offshore Brazil for Petrobras.

2012: Odfjell Drilling secures a record breaking deal with BP for a new build, semi-submersible drilling unit for use in the UK’s West of Shetland region. The contract value is approximately $1.2 billion, excluding options, and represents the largest contract in Odfjell Drilling’s 40 year history. The full contract has a fixed duration of 7 years and is due to start in Q4 2014. The new rig is to be named Deepsea Aberdeen.

This year Odfjell Drilling enters into an agreement with Marine Accurate Well ASA (Maracc) for the operation, project follow-up and marketing of the rig Island Innovator.
Statoil calls the option for Deepsea Bergen for another five years.
Odfjell Drilling takes part in the Brazilian drilling program with SETE for the  three drillships under the names MS Guarapari, MS Siri and MS Itaoca

2013: The value of 40 years experience
Odfjell Drilling can celebrate 40 years in the drilling business. Today, the experience of our people is valued  by our partners worldwide.

Statoil awards Odfjell Drilling the contract for integrated drilling, completion and intervention services including P&A, maintenance and modifications on the Mariner field in UK. This is Statoil's first field development project on the UK shelf.

Deepsea Mooring, Odfjell Drilling's mooring business unit, is sold to HitecVision. Since its establishment as an in-hous service unit in 2008 Deepsea Mooring has developed to on of three providers of mooring services to rig owners and E&P companies in Norway.

Every day we continue to reach new horizons. Stay tuned for more developments soon…