Under the agreement, Maersk will supply the drilling and other equipment. The contract also carries an option for an additional unit of a similar design and capacity, to be exercised within 12 months and subject to price adjustment for steel material and equipment price, labor and currency fluctuations.
The two development deepwater semisubmersibles are expected to be delivered in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Maersk has chosen the proprietary design, the DSS 21, developed by Keppel's Deepwater Technology Group (DTG) and Marine Structure Consultants (MSC).
Mr. Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Contractors, a subsidiary of Maersk, said, "Exploration in deeper water has given good results and now enters the development phase. In a response to our customers' request for lower cost development solutions, we have together with Keppel and MSC designed a high efficient rig to support our customers' ambitions."
The rigs will contain a dynamically positioning system, with the ability to attach to a prelaid mooring system. Capable of operating at water depths to 10,000 feet, the new semisubmersibles are designed for moderate environmental conditions such as West Africa, Brazil, Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Asia. Each rig can accommodate up to 180 people.
In customizing the rigs for deepwater development operations, the partners have drawn from extensive customer input and operational experiences from the semisubmersible Maersk Explorer a DSS 20 design from the DTG/MSC team, built by Keppel FELS for the Caspian Sea in 2003.
Mr. Hemmingsen added, "The reasons for awarding Keppel FELS are past experience and their proven reputation to deliver on time. We believe that we have an excellent team for our expansion in the deepwater market."
The award of the two rigs is the second major contract from Maersk this year following the order secured to build four jackup rigs in March.
Mr. Tong Chong Heong, Managing Director/Chief Operating Officer of Keppel O&M, said, "The Maersk contract represents a vote of confidence from a top-notch drilling contractor in Keppel's capability to provide highly efficient solutions for the deepwater development market.
"Our establishment of the Deepwater Technology Group (DTG) to complement Keppel FELS' expertise in fabrication underscores Keppel's commitment to provide deepwater drilling and production solutions."
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