Brazilian oil company Petrobras said it had signed contracts with Brazilian groups Odebrecht and Etesco, which will operate nine drill ships.
Of the six drill ships being built at the Enseada Paraguaçu Shipyard, in Maragogipe, in the Brazilian state of Bahia, four will be operated by Odebrecht and two by Etesco.
The latter group will also operate a further three drill ships that will be built at the Rio Grande Shipyard, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
The ships are being built in Brazil, using between 55 and 65 percent locally-made components, and after their construction, they will be leased to Petrobras for a period of 15 years.
In the statement, the state company said that the nine units would be delivered in 2016 and would mainly be used to drill wells in the pre-salt layer of the Santos basin.
The ships are capable of operating waters with a depth of up to 3,000 metres and can drill wells up to 10,000 metres deep. (macauhub)