The Explorer is a second generation semisubmersible drilling rig currently capable of drilling in water depths of up to 1,250 feet and will be upgraded to operate in deeper water. The acquisition of the Explorer expands Frontier's offshore drilling fleet and enhances the company's drilling capabilities in harsh environments such as the North Sea and the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. After completing its refurbishment and upgrade, Frontier will operate the Explorer under a long-term contract with a major integrated oil company in the Gulf of Mexico.
Steven Webster, Co-Managing Partner of Avista Capital, said, "Avista's investment in Frontier represents an exciting opportunity to capitalize on the global shortage of offshore drilling rigs in response to the increase in worldwide oil and gas exploration and development activity. Frontier focuses on managing and operating equipment in market segments that are not dominated by larger competitors and in which Frontier's equipment has a competitive advantage, an approach that is a good fit within our targeted investment framework. Having partnered with Frontier's management team since 2002 at Frontier and previously at R&B Falcon, we are confident that management is adding significant value to the company, with the acquisition of the Explorer a great example."
Robert Fulton, Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Drilling USA, Inc., said, "After working with Steve Webster for many years, we are very pleased to have Avista Capital as a partner in Frontier. The Avista team's strong investment track record and energy expertise will bring significant value to us and our shareholders, especially as we look to reinforce our relationship with key customers."
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