* Three Diamond rigs have now left the Gulf of Mexico
* First to depart gets extension of contract in Egypt (Adds background on rig moves, oil spill and moratorium)
By Braden Reddall
HOUSTON, June 14 (Reuters) - A rig owned by Diamond Offshore (DO.N) will leave the Gulf of Mexico to work for BP Plc (BP.L) in Vietnam, marking another exit after BP’s spill last year led to a moratorium on deepwater drilling.
The Ocean Monarch, a deepwater rig now working for Marathon Oil Corp (MRO.N) on a daily rate of about $290,000, will earn $340,000 per day on a three-month contract in Vietnam with the British oil company starting in November, according to Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc’s fleet status report on Tuesday.
Seven of the more than 30 rigs working in the U.S. Gulf in April 2010 have departed, although one has returned and two more could come back later this year. [ID:nN14231051]
The rig is the third owned by Diamond to leave the Gulf. Diamond also said in its fleet report that the first rig to depart, the Ocean Endeavor, signed an eight-month extension of the one-year contract it had with Egypt’s Burullus Gas Co. Once the Monarch leaves, the Houston-based company will have just one deepwater rig left in the nearby waters.
The U.S. deepwater drilling moratorium followed BP’s well blow-out in April 2010, which killed 11 people and destroyed a Transocean rig. However, regulators resumed issuing permits in the past four months, including for eight new wells.
Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co (RDSa.L), told the Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit on Monday that it was good to see the process moving again, but added: “We really need to see that machine pick up speed again.” [ID:nN13150111] (Reporting by Braden Reddall; editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Andre Grenon)