The semi is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter 2009.
To be named ENSCO 8501, this rig is similar to the first semi, ENSCO 8500, which ENSCO ordered with Keppel FELS in September 2005. Both semis will have the capability of drilling in water depths of up to 8,500 ft, and can be readily upgraded to 10,000 ft water-depth if required. Each rig is fitted with a DPS2 dynamic positioning system, eight 2600KW thrusters and a single conventional drilling derrick system, with accommodation for up to 150 persons.
Mr. Carl F. Thorne, ENSCO's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer commented, "We are pleased to have entered into a second transaction of this type in the last few months. As with the ENSCO 8500 project, ENSCO 8501 is expected to provide a cost-effective deepwater drilling solution for our customers and expand ENSCO's deepwater capability on a conservative and financially attractive basis.
"We are gratified to again be working with Keppel FELS shipyard on the ENSCO 8501. We highly value our longstanding relationship which has resulted in a history of successfully delivering high-quality newbuild rigs on time and within budget."
The pontoons and lower hull columns of the two ENSCO semis will be built in the Keppel Philippines shipyard in Batangas. When completed, these modules will be transported to Keppel FELS in Singapore to be assembled with the other parts of the semis.
Said Mr. Choo Chiau Beng, Chairman & CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M), "We expect to cut the first steel for the ENSCO 8500 semi in Keppel Batangas shortly.
"This strike steel event is significant to the Keppel Offshore & Marine group, because it marks Keppel Batangas' entry into the offshore sector as demand for offshore drilling rigs continues to rise.
"We are grateful for the continued confidence that ENSCO has in Keppel to carry out their work from newbuildings to fleet enhancement, anywhere in the world. We will continue to prove to ENSCO that their decision is a right one."
Apart from the two ENSCO semis, Keppel FELS is currently constructing three other semis, undertaking a major conversion of a semi and fabricating 15 jackups.
Keppel FELS is also expected to deliver the KFELS B Class jackup rig, ENSCO 107, to ENSCO one month ahead of contractual schedule with clean safety record of zero incident on Saturday, January 21, 2006. It is the eighth jackup rig that the Keppel O&M group has completed for ENSCO since 1999.
The contract is not expected to have material impact on the NTA or the net earnings per Keppel Corporation share for FY2006.
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