Two floating Transocean rigs are leaving the Gulf of Mexico to work off Africa as the slow return to normal in the region's deeper waters leads oil companies to put rigs to work elsewhere.
The Discoverer Spirit, contracted to Chevron Corp, will move this month to work off Liberia and Sierra Leone before returning to the Gulf of Mexico next March, according to Transocean's latest fleet status report released on Thursday.
Bobby Ryan, Chevron vice president for global exploration, said on Wednesday that the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa remained focus areas, but the pace of permitting in the Gulf of Mexico was not near what he would like.
Greater scrutiny from U.S. regulators after last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill has led to delays in deepwater permit awards.
The Transocean Amirante, a rig now under contract with Eni for $364,000 per day, will move to Egypt to work for Burullus Gas Co in August on a contract of $247,000 per day that runs for 10 months, the fleet status report said.
Burullus has also signed an eight-month extension for Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc's Ocean Endeavor rig, Diamond said this week. The Endeavor was the first rig to depart last summer during the U.S. deepwater moratorium.
Diamond also said this week that its Ocean Monarch would leave the Gulf to work for BP Plc in Vietnam in November.
Two other Transocean rigs departed last year. Nearly a third of the 30-plus deepwater rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 will have ended up leaving due to the drilling stoppage that followed the Deepwater Horizon disaster, though one returned and two more could come back later this year.