Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Yasumi Kudo), Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Masami Iijima), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Jiro Asakura), and Japan Drilling Co., Ltd. (head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Minoru Murata) are participating in an ownership consortium for an ultra-deepwater drillship being used in the provision of charter services to Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (“Petrobras”), the Brazilian state-owned petroleum company. Delivered on December 15, 2011, the vessel arrived at the drilling area in Brazil on February 4, 2012, and has been under charter to Petrobras since April 25.
Named “Etesco Takatsugu J,” the drillship is the most advanced of its type in the world. It is capable of drilling in water depths of 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) and down to 30,000 feet (9,000 meters) below the seabed. The first well will be drilled in the Franco SW block in water approximately 2,000 meters deep about 200 kilometers off Rio de Janeiro. The area is located in pre-salt fields in which Petrobras holds an interest.
The drillship is owned by Etesco Drilling Services, LLC, a company that was established in the United States with the four Japanese companies holding equity stakes totaling over 85 percent. Etesco Drilling Services will provide vessel charter services to Petrobras for up to 20 years.
In recent years, there have been numerous discoveries of large oil and gas fields in pre-salt areas in Brazilian coastal waters, and there is worldwide interest in these massive deposits. The region concerned is believed to have the potential for further development and is a priority area for Petrobras. Through this business, the four Japanese companies will contribute to exploration for oil and gas in the promising fields.