Seadrill Steady After Thai Rig Deal

Shares in Norwegian rig owner Seadrill remained steady today despite the company taking two jack-up newbuildings under its wing after a share acquisition.

The Oslo-listed company issued a statement late on Friday, though not to the bourse, that is had spent $54 million to acquire a 33.75% slice in Asia Offshore Drilling.

On Monday AOD revealed that it had firmed up an order for a jack-up drilling rig at Keppel Corporation for $148 million leaving a second option on the table.

Seadrill’s announcement, issued through its website, revealed it is to “be responsible for the construction supervision, project management, and commercial management of all of [AOD]’s drilling’s jack-up rigs”.

AOD, an offshoot of Thailand’s Mermaid Marine, originally signed up for two firm units at Keppel in December leaving two optional contracts at the yard. Those two units are set for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2013 with the freshly-minted vessel coming the quarter after.

Seadrill’s brief statement did not explain the rationale behind its entry into AOD, although it is likely to have been enticed by the relatively early delivery slots for the three firm units. It is unknown when the fourth unit would need to be firmed up, if AOD so decides.

Nobody was immediately available for comment at Seadrill.

Mermaid, itself an offshoot of large Thai ship owner Thoresen Thai Agencies, was also offered a 33.75% stake in AOD following a successful private placement of $80 million. Mermaid only had to pay $14.8 million for its stake, however, with Seadrill getting the same amount of shares but for more than three times the amount.

Shares in Seadrill, controlled by shipping billionaire John Fredriksen, barely moved on the Oslo bourse since it


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