Keppel FELS Limited's repeat customer, Asia Offshore Drilling Limited (AOD) has exercised its first of two options to build a KFELS B Class jackup rig worth US$184 million. The effectiveness of this first option is subject to AOD or its wholly owned subsidiary entering into a construction contract with Keppel FELS and fulfilling certain conditions precedent. This rig will be AOD's third with Keppel FELS and is scheduled for delivery in 3Q2013. AOD, established by Singapore listed Mermaid Maritime Public Company Limited (Mermaid), had placed orders for two KFELS B Class jackup rigs in December 2010. Last week, AOD announced the completion of a private placement which will result in Mermaid and Seadrill Ltd. each having a 33.75% equal shareholding ownership in AOD.
M.L. Chandchutha Chandratat, Chairman of the Board of AOD, said, "We continue to see bifurcation in the jackup market. Oil companies are showing a preference for high specification jackups for which the KFELS B Class stands out as a choice design. We are therefore strengthening our position as an Asian drilling company with our third KFELS B Class rig order. We are also pleased that our strategic decisions were recognised by Seadrill, which is one of the most successful drilling companies in the world. This partnership between Mermaid, Seadrill and Keppel FELS provides AOD with a strong platform to develop its business to serve the Asia Pacific and Middle East markets." With the exercise of the option, Keppel Offshore & Marine's new orders for the year-to-date has reached S$7.4billion. Mr Tong Chong Heong, CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine said, "We are pleased to receive yet another order for our KFELS B Class rig and further reinforce our partnership with AOD. We have delivered 33 jackup rigs based on the KFELS B Class design, with another 19 on order. This is testament to the proven capabilities of this high specification and cost-effective design.
Keppel stands ready to support AOD as they develop their fleet of premium rigs based on the KFELS B Class design. The two rigs previously ordered by AOD are progressing well on track, and we look forward to deliver these safely, on time and within budget." When completed, AOD's rigs will be able to operate in water depths of 350 feet, drilling depth of 30,000 feet and accommodate 150 men. Developed by Keppel's technology arm, Offshore Technology Development, the KFELS B Class jackup is designed to provide maximum uptime with reduced emissions and discharges. It incorporates Keppel's advanced and fully-automated high capacity rack and pinion elevating system, and Self-Positioning Fixation System. The exercise of the option is not expected to have material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of Keppel Corporation Limited for the current financial year.