Aker Drilling Receives LOI from Statoil

Aker Drilling ASA has signed a letter of intent with Statoil ASA, for the contract of an advanced drilling unit, primarily for operations at the Heidrun, Norne, and Asgard fields in the Norwegian Sea. A final contract agreement is pending approval by the other license participants.

Pursuant to the letter of intent, which is valid through December 22, 2006, the contract will feature a fixed duration of between three and ten years, with the possibility of options.

Based on a five-year contract and full rig utilization, a possible total contract value will be on the order of US $885 million, or NOK 5.3 billion, including mobilization costs. Statoil has until 2008 to determine the contract's duration. Final day rate will be adjusted, based on the duration of the final contract.

We are very pleased to have Statoil as our customer. The agreement adds to Aker Drilling's industry recognition and quality-approves the advanced Aker H-6e drilling unit, says Geir Atle Sjoberg, President and CEO of Aker Drilling.

Sjoberg continues: - We meticulously designed these units for operational safety and efficiency, while incorporating capabilities that will be in demand in the time ahead, particularly on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Across the board, our approach accords with Statoil`s objectives.

The agreement with Statoil pertains to Aker Drilling's first drilling unit currently under construction, which is scheduled to be ready for field operations in February 2008. Earlier this week, Aker Drilling entered into an agreement with the offshore exploration company Aker Exploration on a tentative three-year agreement for the second of the two identical units. Delivery of the second unit is scheduled for October 2008.

These contracts constitute a sound commercial foundation for Aker Drilling's future. We will continue our discussions with Aker Kvaerner on a possible contract for building a third unit, says Geir Atle Sjoberg. "Aker Drilling is experiencing significant interest in the Company's sixth-generation drilling units.

Aker Drilling plans to invest approximately US $35 million to meet customer-specific modifications, and for equipment and outfitting of the Statoil semi-submersible Aker H-6e drilling unit.

The two contracts we signed this week are for Norwegian Continental Shelf operations. The flexibility afforded by 'local' operations will provide ongoing advantages for our customers and for Aker Drilling, says Geir Atle Sjoberg, President and CEO of Aker Drilling.

Aker Drilling's two semi-submersible Aker H-6e platforms are specially designed for drilling in ultra-deep waters under harsh weather conditions in frigid climates. The rigs' Aker Kvaerner MH Dual RamRig drilling systems provide greater drilling efficiency than competitive units.

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