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Shell EP Offshore Ventures Ltd. and Frontier Drillships Ltd., a subsidiary of Frontier Drilling, signed a deepwater/arctic drillship Joint Venture (JV) agreement. Under the agreement, Shell and Frontier will build and roll out a new drillship concept, known as the “Bully” rig. The drillship design sets a new standard and offers a flexible, smaller but highly capable vessel suited for deepwater and arctic drilling, while reducing the construction and operational costs compared to newbuild drilling rigs of similar capability. The Shell/Frontier JV expects to deliver the first Bully rig to the Gulf of Mexico by early 2010. It will be operated by Frontier on behalf of the JV under a separate management services contract.
The rig design was developed by Frontier in cooperation with Shell’s deepwater experts. The innovative design offers flexibility and rapid deployment, setting the standard for technologically advanced vessels. A new development in ultra-deepwater drilling is the use of a surface BOP with a slimline, pressurized riser.
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