The production drilling assignment has a firm duration of three years and the contract value is estimated to approximately $131m.

The new contract is scheduled to start in direct continuation of the current contract with Shell, at the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Seadrill Management CEO Alf Thorkildsen said it was Shell’s forward thinking and support of the semi-tender assist concept that enabled the construction of West Pelaut as the first semi-submersible tender assist platform drilling rig in 1994.

"We view this contract extension as an excellent opportunity to build further our strong relationship with Shell and look forward to continue developing the tender assist concept into deep water projects with Shell as a valued operator," Thorkildsen said.