The 10 Largest Offshore Drilling Companies Of 2018

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Do not expect to find in this list oil companies such as Repsol, BP, Shell, etc., although they may have their own units but in a limited number, it is not profitable to have these mobile assets. The most generalized is the contracting of services to specialized companies.

In the offshore gas and petroleum sector, there are a large number of companies that participate in all phases of the development of this activity, starting from the initial seismic studies (to locate the deposits) until the last step that is the dismantling of the fields.

Offshore oil and natural gas exploration and production operations are very complex operations due, among other factors, to extreme weather conditions in some locations or to depth. To carry out these operations, there are jack-ups, semi-submersible platforms, drilling ships, among others.


This classification is made based on the latest data published by Bassoe Offshore. We complement the information with a brief summary of its history and related videos.


Ensco is the joint venture of ARO Drilling and Saudi Aramco.

The latest acquisition of Ensco was that of the company Atwood. Last summer of 2018, Ensco and Rowan announced their merger, and after her, the goal of Ensco; become the largest company in the offshore drilling sector.

After the merger, this company operates 82 units (12 semi-submersible platforms, 16 drilling vessels and 54 jack-ups), which places it in first position worldwide.

25 of the total of the 28 semi-submersible platforms and drilling vessels that they own, can operate in ultra-deep waters (> 1,500 m). They have an average age of six years. Ensco will also have the second largest fleet of highly qualified drilling vessels in the industry, with eleven of these seventh generation.

Among the 54 jack-ups, 38 are equipped with the latest technology, aspects that their customers require. Seven jack-ups are currently in locations under very severe environmental conditions.

In addition, the company offers services in the Gulf of Mexico, in Brazil, in West Africa, in the North Sea, in the Mediterranean, in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia and in Australia.


The Norwegian Offshore Services Company Seadrill was created by John Fredriksen in 2005. Since then it has not stopped growing. He was buying, in chronological order, other companies: Odfjell, Smedvig, Eastern Drilling, Scorpion Offshore, North Atlantic Drilling or Sevan Drilling.

We should not be surprised to find a Norwegian company in this ranking, as it is the second country in the world with the largest number of companies in the offshore sector. Under the Norwegian flag, almost 60% of the fleet in the offshore sector operates.

Almost all of its semi-submersibles are of the sixth generation, being the oldest of 2008. Among those 17 units, only one is currently under construction at the COSCO shipyard and will be capable of operating in waters up to 10,000 feet deep (3,048 m ) and will have a drilling capacity of 40,000 feet (12,192 m).

All of its drilling vessels can operate in ultra-deep waters and, the average age of this fleet is around 7 years. Finally, he has ordered the South Korean shipyard Dalian 8 of the 29 jackups. The vast majority can operate more than 30,000 feet deep (9,144 m).


Until the merger of Ensco, Transocean was the leading company.

Created in 1953 by the Southern Gar Company and after several mergers and acquisitions, it changed its name to Sonat Offshore Drilling in 1982. Until 1996 it did not acquire the name of Transocean Offshore after merging with the Norwegian Transocean ASA. And to this day, the merger and acquisition of companies has been constant, the latest being the acquisition of Ocean Rig.

Although it is no longer the unit that operates the most, it maintains the leadership of being the company with the greatest capacity to operate in hostile environments and in ultra-deep waters.

Following the purchase of Ocean Rig, Transocean announced that it adds nine highly qualified ultra-deepwater drilling vessels, two semisubmersibles for severe environmental conditions and two drilling vessels currently under construction by Samsung Heavy Industries. That is, a total of 57 units, with 17 of the 50 largest in the world and 31 of the 100 deepwater drilling vessels in the industry.


With approximately five decades of experience in conducting offshore drilling, China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL) is one of the largest offshore drilling companies in China.

It has 32 jackups and 12 semi-submersible platforms.  


Shelf Drilling despite being in the middle of this ranking, is the company with the highest number of jack-ups, with a total of 38 units.

Shelf Drilling is headquartered in Dubai although it is registered in the Cayman Islands. It currently offers services in four regions: Asia, India, West Africa and MENAM ( Middle East, North Africa & Mediterranean ).


Borr Drilling Limited is a drilling services provider based in Bermuda since 2016. It owns and operates jack-ups of great technical specification throughout the globe to 400 feet deep (122 m).

As of December 31, 2017, this company’s fleet consisted of 36 jack-ups, of which 13 will be delivered between 2018 and 2020.

In November 2017 Galar jack-up was delivered to him , and in December of that year he was handed over to the shipyard PPL PTE Ltd (Singapore) of the Gerd . In early January 2018 Keppel delivered the Saga , and at the end of February 2018 PPL delivered the Gersemi platform .


Founded in 1985 under the name of Noble Affiliates by Lloyd Noble. In the following video tells the whole story, we also take advantage to practice our listening!

The company itself, in its annual report for 2017, commented that by February 2018 its fleet was composed of 28 platforms: 8 drilling vessels, 6 semi-submersible platforms and 14 jackups.


Emerged in 1972 after the decision of Maersk Storm Drilling Company and Atlantic Pacific Marine Corp. to buy two semi-submersible platforms and two drilling barges.

It is currently a subsidiary of AP Moller-Maersk Group. It has 15 jackups, 4 semi-submersible platforms ( Maersk Explorer , Maersk Developer , Maersk Discoverer and Maersk Deliverer ) and 4 drilling vessels ( Maersk Valiant , Maersk Venturer , Maersk Voyager and Maersk Voyager ).


Fundada en 1972, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) es la mayor compañía perforadora nacional de los Emiratos Árabes Unidos. Por ello no sorprende encontrarla en esta lista, ya que tiene acceso al petróleo y reservas de gas del país, considerada como la cuarta más grande del mundo (137 millones de barriles de petróleo, según datos a junio de 2007).

Currently the company operates two oil refineries, Ruwais and Umm Al Nar. ADNOC has eleven subsidiaries that cover all aspects of the process in the oil industry, namely: Abu Dhabi Gas, National Drilling Company, Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Exploration, Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company, Zakum Development Company, National Petroleum Construction Company, Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd., ESNAAD, Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company, Abu Dhabi Petroleum Ports Operating Company, Ruwais Fertilizer Industry, ADNOC distribution, Abu Dhabi National Tanker Company, Abu Dhabi Polymers Company Ltd and National Gas Shipping Company.

On its website they claim to have drilled more than 7,200 wells (46.8 million feet or 14,260 km).

Opera 20 jack ups.


The Aban group was born as a small engineering company in Chennai (India) founded by MA Abraham in 1965 and three years later Aban Offshore Ltd. was formed.

Aban has lent its services to clients around the world such as Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC), Hardy Exploration & Production (India) Inc., Shell Brunei, Shell Malaysia, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (GSPC), Hindustan Oil Exploration Co. Ltd., Cairn Energy, Petronas Carigali, ROC Oil, Shell (Southeast Asia) or Exxon Mobil Malaysia.

It currently has 15 jack-ups and two drilling vessels, being able to carry out its work in waters from 250 feet up to 6,000 feet deep.



Source: Sectormaritimo