By Houston Business Journal

Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. has moved its Ocean Confidence rig out of the Gulf of Mexico to the Republic of Congo.

The relocation marks the second time in a week that the Houston-based contract drilling services company has shifted a rig out of the Gulf to another country.

Last week, Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO) said it was moving its Ocean Endeavor rig out of the Gulf of Mexico to Egypt.

With the latest rig, Diamond Offshore said it has suspended a Gulf contract and entered into a new multi-well international commitment with a subsidiary of Murphy Exploration and Production Co. out of New Orleans.

The rig left the Gulf over the weekend and is expected to arrive on location offshore Africa within about 60 days.

⿿As the uncertainty about continued deepwater drilling in the GOM persists, we must consider alternatives that allow our deepwater assets to remain employed,⿝ said Diamond Offshore President and Chief Executive Larry Dickerson. ⿿The contract we suspended with Murphy has been restructured into a one-year commitment in the GOM that is expected to recommence when our customer is satisfied that it can obtain the necessary permits and can meet any new regulatory requirements.⿝

On Monday, the Obama administration issued a new moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling that is no longer based on water depth.

The new moratorium will last through Nov. 30. Unlike the previous moratorium, which applied to waters of more than 500 feet, the new one applies to any deepwater floating facility with drilling activities.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010