Elon Musk's company SpaceX buys two offshore rigs
Two offshore drilling rigs, previously used under the seabed for oil and gas exploration, could help with space exploration soon.
In other words, a company linked to billionaire Elon Musk purchased two deepwater semi-submersible drilling rigs last year, according to several reports this week, with plans to convert them into floating launch pads for Musk's SpaceX rockets.
Back in 2002, SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Corp, was founded by Musk to cut space transportation time and increase Mars to be colonized.
A company named Lone Star Mineral Development, linked to Musk's Space X company, purchased two semi-submersible drilling rigs from Valaris in July 2020, according to CNBC.
The Valaris 8500 and Valaris 8501 are the two rigs in question, and Lone Star reportedly paid a total of $7 million, or $3.5 million each.
The semi-subs were originally delivered to the drilling company Ensco in 2008 and 2009 from Singapore's Keppel and cost a few hundred million to build. When oil prices were $100+ a barrel, the two rigs had day rates of $290,000+ for the 8500 and $370,000 for the 8501 rig, according to a fleet status report from 2011.
"SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket (collectively referred to as Starship) represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Starship will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit," the company announced.
Ensco merged with Rowan Drilling in 2019 to create Valaris, the world's largest offshore drilling company by fleet size, a few years, and an oil industry downturn later.
In early 2020, Valaris moved to lower costs by stacking several of its competitive rigs and deciding to withdraw seven other rigs, including the 8500 and the 8501 semi-submersibles, citing the challenging backdrop for the offshore drilling sector, caused by another oil industry downturn and the global pandemic. Valaris filed for bankruptcy in August 2020.
Maritime Business World