The Deepwater Champion is an Ultradeep Water drillship with a Gusto MSC design that was built in 2010 for Transocean at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea at an estimated cost of $740 million. It’s outfitted to work at a maximum of 10,000 feet and designed for 12,000 feet, while its maximum drilling depth is 40,000 feet.
The Champion is 752 feet long, 118 feet wide and is 59 feet deep. It can accommodate up to 210 crew members and has a transit speed of up to 10 knots. It’s Vanuatu-flagged, has a gross tonnage of 51,320 tons and a deadweight tonnage of 38,000 tons. The drilling derrick of the Champion has the capability to run two drilling stations at the same time.
When the Champion officially went into operation, it first worked to explore areas of the Black Sea for both Exxon and TPAO, which serves as Turkey’s main oil firm. Traveling from South Korea to South Africa before reaching the coast of Istanbul.
The success of the Champion was evident the following year, when it had moved operations to the Gulf of Mexico. The ship received both an EAU Rig of the Year and a FIRST Excellence Award, with the latter accolade being in recognition of its strong safety record. During 2011, the ship had no serious no-hits and zero lost-time incidents.
By May 2015, the Champion played the key role in helping Exxon uncover a large discovery of oil, located roughly 120 miles offshore of Guyana as part of the Stabroek Block’s Liza-1 well.
Due to continuing lower oil prices, Transocean chose cold stacking, a term to describe simply turning off the ship’s engines, as a strategy. The Champion and other ships are currently located off the coast of Trinidad.