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Nexen signs N. Sea drilling contract for Ensco 120 jack up

Nexen Petroleum signed a drilling contract with Ensco PLC to hire the Ensco 120, a harsh-environment jack up rig that Nexen will use on its Golden Eagle development in the central North Sea to drill at least 10 wells.

The estimated initial contract is $120 million. The contract is expected to start during fourth-quarter 2013 following systems integration testing and mobilization. Terms allow Nexen to extend the contract through 11 one-well options, potentially increasing the contract value by an estimated $140 million.

The Ensco 120, now under construction at Keppel FELS shipyard in Singapore, will be capable of operating in up to 400 ft of water. The jack up design enables large, multiwell platform programs, ultradeep gas programs, and up to 40,000 ft total drilling depth.

The rig will feature high-temperature, high-pressure equipment, a proprietary Ensco high-capacity design cantilever envelope, 2.5 million lb quad derrick, automated hands-free offline pipe handling systems, ultra-high capacity jacking and fixation systems, 150-person quarters, and strict noise and ergonomic standards.

The Ensco 120 is the first in a series of three such newbuild jack ups. The Ensco 121 and Ensco 122 are scheduled for delivery in fourth-quarter 2013 and third-quarter 2014, respectively.

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