Ensco, an offshore contract drilling company, has announced that one of its subsidiaries has finalized a drilling contract with Cobalt International Energy for Ensco 8503, an ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rig currently under construction.

The drilling contract calls for operations in the Gulf of Mexico on a two-year primary term that can be extended to a three- or four-year term by Cobalt.

The aggregate day rate revenue for the base two-year contract term is expected to be approximately $372 million. The base operating rate is $510,000 per day, and the day rate will be subject to adjustment for variances in operating costs from January 2008 levels.

Daniel Rabun, chairman, president and CEO of Ensco, said: We are pleased that Cobalt International has selected Ensco for its deepwater drilling program in the Gulf of Mexico. This demonstrates confidence in our ability to provide first-class rig crews, superior service and safe operations, and recognizes that the Ensco 8500 Series rig design offers a cost-effective deepwater drilling solution to efficiently address Cobalt’s drilling requirements.