The rig is expected to complete its current contract with Chevron USA in September 2008 and then mobilize to west Australia to commence operations under the new contract by the end of 2008. The current day rate of $365,000 will apply during the mobilization period.

The operating rate under the new contract is $550,000 per day, and will be subject to adjustment for variances in operating costs. The initial term of the contract, which runs until August 31, 2010, can be extended by Chevron Australia for one or two additional years at the same rate if the option to extend is exercised by September 1, 2009, or at mutually agreed rates if the option is exercised thereafter.

Dan Rabun, chairman, president and CEO of Ensco, said: We are pleased that Chevron has selected the Ensco 7500 for its deepwater drilling program in Australia. We have extensive operating experience in the region with our jackup rig fleet, and the Ensco 7500 will add to our capabilities in this increasingly important deepwater market.