Sovcomflot makes seismic move
State-controlled Sovcomflot has taken the freshly-delivered Polarcus Selma for five years for survey work in the Arctic, Polarcus revealed in a statement on Thursday.
The deal at a dayrate of $69,500 starts this month and also leaves Moscow-headquartered Sovcomflot with a purchase option on the vessel after three years.
Polarcus described the charter deal as “the first step towards a larger strategic business alliance to serve the growing Russian seismic market”.
A spokesperson at Sovcomflot was unwilling to discuss details of the contract saying the company would make a statement in a matter of weeks. He did, however, confirm that this was the Russian’s maiden splash in the seismic market.
The Polarcus Selma is an Ulstein SX133-design, Arctic-ready vessel which was just delivered to the owner by Dubai-based shipbuilder Drydocks World on Monday. It comes equipped with an eight-streamer seismic equipment package.
Sovcomflot, Russia’s largest tanker owner, currently has nothing approaching a seismic vessel in its fleet which is made up predominantly of oil, products and chemical tankers with some bulk carriers, LNG and LPG vessels, tugs and ice-breakers.
The purchase option suggests that the company could be considering a long-term play on the seismic and perhaps offshore markets.
On Wednesday Sovcomflot announced it had started a charter deal with Norwegian oil giant Statoil for the transport of crude from the Peregrino field off Brazil. The deal will run for three to five years with Statoil using the Russian’s aframax tankers.