Top 10 Biggest Offshore Drilling Companies in the World

With wide-ranging applications in commercial, financial, transportation and industrial sectors, Oil and natural gas are two resources that drive the world economies.

The global offshore drilling market size stood at 32 billion US dollars in 2018 but is expected to cross the 90 billion mark by the end of this decade.

In this article, let us review the 10 biggest offshore drilling giants.

1. Schlumberger

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The biggest offshore drilling company, Schlumberger is a prominent name in the maritime energy sector. It has a worldwide presence in more than 120 countries and employs over 100,000 professionals including technicians, engineers and research personnel working closely for developing industry-changing technologies that are safer and cleaner.

It was established in 1926 by Conrad and Marcel Schlumberger, two brothers hailing from Alsace, France. Since then it has come a long way by carving out its name as the highest revenue generator among all its competitors and offering reliable services to its international clients. The company recorded annual revenue of around 48 billion dollars in 2017. It is headquartered in Paris, France and has branch offices in Houston, London and the Hague.

It collaborates with international oil companies offering services like data processing, testing of oil wells, site evaluation, drilling and lifting operations etc. It also provides consultatory and management services.

The company has completed the biggest projects in Saudi Arabia, Libya, Turkmenistan and Russia, nations with the world’s largest oil reserves. It has a complex structure and subsidiary companies in Panama, the Netherlands and the British Virgin Islands. It regularly trades on the London, Paris and New York Stock Exchanges.

According to the Global 500 list published by Fortune Magazine, Schlumberger bagged the 287th position in 2016 and has always been one of the top 300 corporations in the world with a large revenue turnover.

2. Halliburton

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Founded in 1919 by an American businessman named Erle P. Halliburton, the company is the second biggest products and services provider for the ever-changing requirements of the energy sector. It has a diverse workforce representing over 140 different nationalities in more than 75 countries across the globe. It is based in Houston, United States but has another main office in Dubai.

The company envisages its aim to assist customers in maximising the profitability of their reservoir. It aids in locating the reservoir sites, manages data, undertakes drilling works, constructs oil wells and oversees the management of the asset. In fact, most of the major hydraulic fracturing contracts are bagged by Halliburton.

It also offers geothermal management services including directional drilling and non-portland cement systems. The enterprise uses advanced logging techniques to identify geothermal reservoirs and fractures. It carefully employs pressure drilling to reduce lost circulation. Most importantly, it is known for the usage of novel stimulation methods for enhancing the productivity of the asset.

The company states its mission of providing affordable solutions and underlines the need for transitioning into a low carbon future by combining technological expertise with efficient use of available resources.

In the last three years, it focussed on the complete digitisation of oilfield technologies for boosting operational efficiency by providing real-time information to its clients regarding the status of their projects. Hence, it generated annual revenue of 22,408 billion dollars in 2019.

3. Fluor Corporation

Fluor Corporation
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Fluor Corporation is the world’s third-biggest offshore drilling company and a major producer of anti-pollution products. It provides services through its subsidiary companies operating in the oil and gas sector, industries and manufacturing, engineering and construction. The Global 500 list ranked it as the 196th biggest corporation since it recorded annual revenue of around 15.66 billion dollars in 2021.

It was established as a construction enterprise in 1912 by John Simon Fluor and progressed rapidly by constructing oil refineries and other offshore infrastructure for the oil and gas sector. Today, around 55,000 professionals are working for Fluor in more than 50 countries. However, it is headquartered in Irving, Texas, the United States.

It was involved in many complex projects such as the construction of the Al-Zour oil refinery in Kuwait, Nuclear Laboratories in Canada, the Open pit copper mine in Peru and the LNG Canada export facility to name a few. It received many awards from organisations like the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and the Project Management Institute. The company highlights its vision to generate cost-effective innovative solutions for maximising the client’s capital efficiencies.

4. Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes
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Baker Hughes provides a range of services pertaining to the oil and natural gas sector including Casing and Lining Drilling, cementing, drilling automation, providing rig equipment, coiled tubing services, drill bits, drilling fluids, optimization services and so on.

The company is also present in the industrial technology sector and offers industrial asset management and advisory services to its clients. Power generation is possible using NovaLT turbines serving the refining, mining, cement and processing industries.

It has completely digitised its operational structure and smartly uses Artificial intelligence for allowing remote asset monitoring, virtual testing and diagnostics for decreasing costs and increasing performance.

Headquartered in Houston, US, it has employed 54,000 professionals and operates in more than 120 countries. It has research laboratories and manufacturing units in India, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Germany, Australia, Singapore etc. Baker Hughes earned a handsome revenue of 20.705 billion dollars in 2020. Also, the company exited Russia in March ‘22 due to the imposition of international sanctions, a result of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

5. Transocean

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Established in 1973, Transocean came into existence after Sonat Incorporated merged with several small drilling companies. It is based in Vernier, Switzerland and generates annual revenue of approximately 7 billion dollars. The company is present in more than 30 countries across the world with major offices located in the United States, Scotland, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Norway etc.

The company owns and operates a fleet of 49 offshore drilling units comprising ultra-deepwater oil rigs, out of which 15 are located in extremely harsh environments. Around 85 per cent of the company’s rigs were delivered in the last 8 years, hence it is known for the most diverse and flexible rigs in the industry. The upcoming rigs feature their patented hybrid technology for optimum reservoir productivity. It also constructed the ultra-deepwater drillship named Deepwater Titan.

Transocean frequently organises training and internship programs for those wanting to join the company and also for its employees totalling 10,000.

6. Ensco Plc

Ensco Plc
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A provider of offshore drilling services across the globe, Ensco Plc owns a diverse fleet consisting of 39 oil rigs, 13 ultra-deepwater drillships, semisubmersibles and modern jack-ups. Based in London, UK, the company earns annual revenues of over a billion US dollars and is run by a team of 5400 professionals. The company operates in strategic basins such as the US Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, Middle East, Asia, Africa, Pacific Rim.

It is known for one of the most technologically advanced fleets in the petroleum industry and has the world’s biggest jack-up fleet conducting operations in Middle Eastern waters and the cruel environment of the North Sea.

The submersibles are installed with a hybrid mooring technology that allows drilling up to a depth of 1500 to 10,000 feet while the ultra-deepwater drillships can go up to 12,000 feet. The company promises its clients proficient drilling operations and efficient reservoir management.

7. Diamond Offshore Drilling

Diamond Offshore Drilling
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Diamond Offshore Drilling is an offshore drilling contractor in the oil and gas sector offering oil well construction and asset management services to independent companies as well as government-owned enterprises. Established in 1989, it is headquartered in Texas, USA and has branch offices in Southeast Asian nations, North America and Scandinavian countries like Norway. In 2017, the company earned annual revenues of around 1.5 billion dollars.

It enjoys a significant position in the energy industry as it owns 12 offshore drilling rigs comprising 8 floating platforms and 4 drillships.

The company is renowned for its innovative technologies such as the Pressure Control by Hour Service, developed in collaboration with Baker Hughes and the Sim-Stack technology which speeds up the drilling operations manifold. According to the company officials, this technology helped the company to complete one of the most challenging projects in the Gulf Of Mexico before the scheduled completion date.

8. Rowan Companies

Rowan Companies
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Primarily engaged in digging offshore oil and natural gas wells, Rowan Companies has existed for more than 90 years in the energy sector. It was founded in 1923 in Britain as Rowan Drilling, by Charles Rowan and Arch Rowan who had some experience in the oil and gas sector. The company is based in London, England and has annual revenue earnings of more than 1.4 billion dollars. It was acquired by London based Ensco Plc in 2019 and was renamed Ensco Rowan Plc and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker ESV.

The company is known for operating one of the youngest fleets in the industry consisting of more than 30 jack-up rigs and 4 drillships. It has drills in Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, the Middle East, the North Sea and West Africa. The Gorilla class heavy duty offshore drilling rigs can reach a depth of 35,000 feet whereas the ultra-deepwater rigs can drill down to 40,000 feet.

9. Noble Corporation

Noble Corporation
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Noble Corporation provides offshore-drilling services in the oil and gas sector with a fleet of around 20 mobile offshore drilling units comprising 12 floaters and 8 jack-up rigs focussing on deep-water and jack-up drilling operations in established as well as emerging markets across the world. Its clients include independent companies and also government-owned enterprises. The company has been in the offshore drilling sector since 1985 and is known for possessing one of the most versatile fleets in the energy industry.

It is based in London, UK and earned annual revenue of around 1.2 billion dollars in 2021. The company has more than 2500 employees and has branch offices in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Qatar, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia etc.

10. Seadrill

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The 10th biggest offshore drilling company is Seadrill, established in 2005 by a Norwegian business tycoon named John Fredriksen. The company has focussed on adopting and developing new innovative maritime technologies and improving digital connectivity for better management of the clients’ assets. It also operates training institutes offering technical and leadership training in the maritime and subsea sectors.

The company is incorporated in Hamilton, Bermuda but headquartered in London. It has another main office in Houston and several regional offices in over 20 countries, employing over 4000 professionals.

The company owns and operates 35 drilling rigs and maintains a standardised fleet using its rig asset management platform offering real-time information regarding the asset’s functioning and performance analysis. It also owns 10 drillships and 4 semisubmersibles. The company earns revenues of over 1 billion US dollars every year.

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Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

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