The West Capella is an ultra-deepwater drillship that was built in 2008 for Seadrill Partners at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea. It has a Samsung 10,000 design, with a Kongsberg DP Class 3 dynamic positioning system in place.
Offering a drillship that’s 748 feet long and with a beam that’s just under 138 feet wide, the West Capella can accommodate a crew of 180 people. Built to work in a maximum water depth of 10,000 feet, its drilling depth can be as much as 37,500 feet, while providing transit speed of a maximum of 11.5 knots with a gross tonnage of 59,626 tons.
This sixth generation drillship is Panama-flagged, though much of its work has taken place off the African coast. The West Capella achieved its first bit of success in 2009, when it was part of the Owowo South discovery in Nigeria for Exxon Mobil. That area, which was located in the Gulf of Guinea near the Niger Delta’s southeast portion was part of the Usan field.
Over the course of that year, the West Capella handled the drilling of top hole batches before then running a blowout preventer that would then drill to its total depth. The continued success of the project was made possible by the continuing high prices that the oil market delivered.
However, as with many other ships in the same situation, the steep drop in oil prices that began in the middle of 2014 eventually resulted in the West Capella being shut down. Exxon Mobil’s official cancellation took place in May 2016, with Seadrill being compensated for the termination with a pair of payments over the course of a 12-month period for approximately $125 million each. The ship is currently moored in Tenerife in the Canary Islands.