Energy giant Chevron has announced its deepwater drill ship has commenced operations in deepwater off the US Gulf of Mexico under a five-year contract with the world’s largest offshore drilling company, Transocean.

The drill ship, Discoverer Clear Leader, has a well drilling capacity of less than 12,000ft of water to a total depth of 40,000ft, Chevron said.

The ship will start work at Chevron’s deepwater projects in Tahiti and Jack/St Malo.

Chevron said that the drill ship offers the most “advanced drilling capabilities” in the offshore drilling industry, enabling Chevron to expand the search for new domestic sources of energy.

The Discoverer Clear Leader is the first of two new drill ships to be commissioned for Chevron. The second vessel, the Discoverer Inspiration, is expected to be delivered in early 2010.