The Rowan Renaissance

The Rowan Renaissance is a dual-stack, sixth generation ultra-deepwater drill ship with a length of 752 feet and just over 118 feet wide. Possessing 52,242 tons worth of gross tonnage, it carries 34,000 deadweight tons.

Built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea, the Renaissance was sent out by Rowan in January 2014, following a delay of approximately one month. It’s part of a trio of ships built by the company, the other two being the Reliance and the Resolute.

The Renaissance’s first job was a three-year agreement with Repsol SA, the huge oil company whose base of operations is in Spain. Once it left South Korea, it was bound for the eventual destination of Namibia in Africa.

Drilling on the Welwitschia-1 well in Block 1911, the Renaissance had headed to Namibia with the hope that it would be the first to discover hydrocarbon resources in the country after 18 previous attempts had failed. Africa has become a prime target of many oil companies. In 2013, 55 percent (11 of 20) of the largest oil and gas finds were based in Africa.

However, after seven weeks of activity, the decision was made on June 12, 2014 to end the effort. The drill ship moved onto Angola, where it worked on the Locosso-1 well.

Five months later, it began a short tenure in the Canary Islands. That project was equally abrupt. The combination of poor quality of the gas discovered, steep oil price drops and environmental protests all served as key factors in the decision. In the latter case, a few Greenpeace activists were able to access the ship.

Following that turmoil, the Renaissance literally shifted course by heading to the United States to drill an appraisal well in the Gulf of Mexico.