UPDATE: Stena Drilling to cut crew as three drillships remain idle in Las Palmas

Offshore Drilling contractor Stena Drilling is looking to cut workforce, being unable to find work for its three drillships currently idle in Las Palmas. The drillships positioned in Las Palmas are the Stena Forth, Stena Drillmax, and Stena Icemax.

In a memo sent by Stena Drilling to its employees in December, seen by Offshore Energy Today, the company said that despite the increased amount of tenders in 2017 “much of this work is uncertain and much of it is not on the near horizon.”

“It is clear that the reputation you helped us get as a safe and high performance drilling contractor precedes us but this has not helped us in gaining firm contracts to date for the vessels in 2018,” the memo read.

Thus the company said that proposals would be put forward to reduce the crew in such a way that that the three drillships will share two warm stack crews and one standby crew, whilst they remain stationed in Las Palmas, together with a standby leadership team to facilitate reactivation when required.

According to the document, Stena said:”…We regret that we have had to make these tough decisions as we truly value the efforts that you and the rest of our colleagues on all the vessels have made in making Stena Drilling a great company. We all hope that when the market rebounds there will be opportunity again to continue the good work of the past.”

The company said it would place detailed proposals before employee representatives so that “a consultation process can be commenced before any decisions are concluded and to provide an appropriate forum for employee views to be put forward and taken account of. Employees shall be given the opportunity to elect their own representatives.”

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Stena Drilling, seeking more info on the matter, and on the number of workers expected to be affected.

Update: January 12, 16:48 CET

Responding to Offshore Energy Today, Stena Drilling’s Managing Director Erik Rønsberg has confirmed the consultations with the workers have started and that the company will work to minimize the impact.

He said: “Stena Drilling manage a fleet of 3 semi-submersible drilling units and 4 state-of-the-art ultra-deepwater drillships.  Although the oil price has strengthened over the past year, drilling contract awards have been limited.  Stena Drilling have managed to deliver best in class safety and operational performance over the past years, but are not immune to the fact there is currently an oversupply of rigs in the market.  This has led to the company having to take very difficult decisions to manage expenditure and this has included having to consider a reduction in crew complement on the 3 warm stacked rigs currently berthed in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

“The company very much regrets the situation, which may mean redundancy for some of the highly skilled crew who have worked hard to earn the company its great reputation, but the immediate aim is to protect the sustainability of the company.  Stena Drilling are actively pursuing numerous tenders for work and optimistic that this difficult situation will change soonest.”


The article has been updated to include a statement by Stena Drilling’s Managing Director Erik Rønsberg 


Offshore Energy Today Staff

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