Diamond Offshore Drilling, an oil and gas deepwater drilling contractor, has signed a $590m turnkey contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries for the construction of a new ultra-deepwater drillship.

The ultra-deepwater drillship, which will have the capability to drill in up to 12,000ft of water, is slated to be delivered in the second quarter of 2013.

Diamond Offshore has also secured from Hyundai a fixed-price option to buy a second drillship which the company has the right to exercise at any time before the end of the first quarter of 2011.

The drillship will have a seven ram blow-out preventer, dual activity capability, five mud pumps and a maximum hook-load capacity of 1,250 tons.

Diamond Offshore president and CEO Larry Dickerson said that the addition of a new drillship to its fleet is part of a continuing effort to enhance its ultra-deepwater capabilities at attractive capital costs.