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Maersk Drilling buys distressed new rig from Hercules Offshore

Maersk Drilling buys distressed new rig from Hercules Offshore
Maersk Drilling has entered into an agreement to purchase a newbuild jack-up rig from Hercules Offshore, and the rig has been delivered from Singapore’s Sembcorp Marine.

The harsh environment jack-up rig, formerly named Hercules Highlander, has been renamed Maersk Highlander.

The rig was originally ordered by Hercules Offshore, which filed for bankruptcy in August 2015. But after the oil services firm emerged from bankruptcy in last November after reducing its debts, it is now planning to file for a second bankruptcy due to the continuing weak oil and gas industry.

The latest agreement will see Maersk Drilling settling the final payment of approximately $190m to rigbuilder and repair yard Sembmarine.

After delivery, Maersk Highlander will be deployed to the North Sea to start a five-year drilling contract with Maersk Oil and its partners BP and JX Nippon on the Culzean gas field offshore UK. The five-year contract is valued at around $420m.

“This agreement represents an opportunity for Maersk Drilling to acquire a newbuild harsh environment jack-up backed by a firm long-term contract,” said Claus Hemmingsen, ceo of Maersk Drilling.

With the addition of Maersk Highlander, Maersk Drilling’s rig fleet will come up to 23 units with an additional harsh environment jack-up rig under construction.