The agreement has been concluded through Statoil's subsidiary, Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC.
The semi-submersible rig is under construction at the Keppel FELS yard in Singapore and delivery is expected in April 2008. It can operate in water depths down to 3,000 meters and will be one of the most sophisticated units on the market.
The rig will mainly be used for wildcat drilling in deep water in the Gulf of Mexico, but can also be used in Statoil's other international focus locations.
The charter agreement comes into force as soon as the rig arrives in the Gulf of Mexico in June 2008.
"This long-term contract will secure drilling capability in the Gulf of Mexico," says Bill Maloney, senior vice president for global exploration (GEX) in International Exploration & Production.
"It underpins our determination to build a role as exploration operator beyond Norwegian waters."
Statoil has also entered into an agreement with Woodside Energy (USA), the American affiliate of the Australian energy company Woodside Energy, regarding sharing of the newly-built rig. Woodside Energy (USA) will use the rig for a total of 18 months of the contract period.
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