Maersk Drilling has secured a $545m contract from Eni Ghana Exploration and Production for use of its newbuild drillship Maersk Voyager on the $7bn Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) project, offshore Ghana.

The firm contract period is 3.5 years with an option to extend by one year.

Maersk Drilling said Maersk Voyager is the last in a series of four ultra deepwater drillships in its rig fleet. It was delivered in February from the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje-Si in South Korea.

"West Africa has been a strategic focus area for Maersk Drilling since we embarked on our deepwater expansion, and with this contract we expand our presence in the promising West African deepwater market."

Maersk Drilling CEO and executive board member in the Maersk Group Claus Hemmingsen said: "We are very pleased to be chosen by Eni and its partners Vitol and GNPC for this project, and we look forward to working together with the OCTP JV over the next 3.5 years.

"West Africa has been a strategic focus area for Maersk Drilling since we embarked on our deepwater expansion, and with this contract we expand our presence in the promising West African deepwater market."

Located about 60km from the Ghanaian Western Region’s coast, the OCTP project features oil and non-associated gas fields, and will access approximately 41 billion cubic metres of gas and 500 million barrels of oil.

First oil is expected in 2017 and initial gas in 2018, with peak production planned to be 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in 2019.

The project will provide domestic gas supply to Ghana’s thermal power plants for more than 15 years.

Eni, via its own subsidiary Eni Ghana, operates OCTP with a 47.22% interest, while Vitol and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation own 37.77% and 15% stakes respectively.