Transocean Gets Three-Year Rig Contract

Transocean said Monday it won a three-year contract worth up to $569.4 million for its ultra-deepwater drillship Discoverer Spirit from oil and gas producer Anadarko Petroleum.

The contract is expected to begin in 2010 following the completion of the rig's existing contracts in the Gulf of Mexico.

The price equals about $520,000 per day for use of the Discoverer Spirit.

The rig is one of Transocean's 34 "high-specification floaters" and can operate in water depths of up to 10,000 feet.

Transocean is awaiting regulatory approvals for its planned $18 billion purchase of peer GlobalSanteFe that would create an offshore driller with nearly 150 rigs, about three times more than its closest competitor.

High oil prices and advancements in offshore drilling technology have prompted oil and gas companies to seek reserves in previously untapped depths in the Gulf of Mexico in recent years.

That, plus the limited number of drillships capable of working in deep water, has led to a scramble to reserve rigs, pushing day rates as high as $600,000 for a Transocean vehicle.