Keppel Celebrates Naming of ENSCO 8501 Ultra-Deepwater Semisub

On Mar. 28, Keppel FELS Limited (Keppel FELS) celebrated the naming of ENSCO 8501, an ultra-deepwater semisubmersible (semi).

The second in a series of seven deepwater semis to be constructed by Keppel FELS for Ensco International Incorporated (Ensco), ENSCO 8501 will be chartered by Noble Energy (Noble) and Nexen Petroleum (Nexen). The first deepwater rig, ENSCO 8500, was delivered in June 2008.

ENSCO 8501 was named in the presence of Senior Minister of State (SMS) for National Development, Ms. Grace Fu, by Mrs. Lanita C. Weisinger, wife of Mr. Don Weisinger, Drilling Manager (Southern Region) at Noble Energy.

In her speech, SMS Fu said, "Despite the global financial turmoil and volatile oil prices, the long-term outlook for the oil and gas industry remains good, with sustained energy demand coming from both developed and emerging economies.

"For this reason, national and international oil companies are continuing with their Exploration & Production investments to boost future reserves. However, competition is expected to be very stiff. To thrive, offshore companies like yours will have to stay focused on managing the market changes with flexible and innovative measures."

Mr. Dan Rabun, Chairman, President and CEO of Ensco said, "We expect to begin realizing the benefit of our significant deepwater investment starting in the second quarter of 2009. The first of our seven new ENSCO 8500 Series® ultra-deepwater semis, ENSCO 8500, is currently undergoing deepwater sea trials prior to commencement of operations.

"With the expected addition of all seven new 8500 Series deepwater rigs to our fleet by 2012, we anticipate that our deepwater segment will contribute approximately one-third of our revenue once all the new rigs are delivered and operational.

"The construction of ENSCO 8501 is testament to Ensco's experience and expertise in deepwater solutions and Keppel FELS's excellent project execution. We are confident that ENSCO 8501, the effort of our winning combination, will raise the benchmark for cost-effective ultra-deepwater drilling when she begins her assignment in the Gulf of Mexico."

Keppel and Ensco have enjoyed a two decade-long partnership, during which they have worked closely to build up and renew Ensco's rig fleet. This includes the delivery of nine new jackup rigs.

Mr. Tong Chong Heong, CEO of Keppel FELS said, "The rich collective experience and insights we have gained on ENSCO 8500 has enabled us to execute ENSCO 8501 with greater engineering and construction efficiency.

"I am pleased to announce that we have maintained an incident-free record on the construction of ENSCO 8501. Safety is a core value that both Keppel and Ensco hold close to heart. This achievement would not have been possible without the strong partnership, open communication and excellent collaboration between the Keppel and Ensco teams.

"As we progress on the subsequent semis, we are committed to deliver them on time, within budget and with the highest standards of safety."

The ENSCO 8501 is capable of drilling in 8,500 feet of water, and can be upgraded to 10,000 feet water-depth capability if required. It has a drilling depth of 35,000 ft and can accommodate up to 150 men.

When delivered in the middle of the year, it will be contracted to Noble and Nexen for operation in the Gulf of Mexico. The energy rich region covers an area of about 1.5 million square kilometers and is bounded by the United States of America, Mexico and Cuba.

Ensco, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, owns and operates a modern fleet of offshore drilling rigs servicing the petroleum industry on a global basis.

Keppel FELS is part of Keppel Offshore & Marine Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel Corporation Ltd. Keppel O&M is a leader in offshore rigs, ship repair and conversion and specialised shipbuilding. Its near market, near customer strategy is bolstered by a global network of 20 yards in the Asia Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, the Caspian Sea, Middle East and the North Sea regions. Integrating the experience and expertise of its yards worldwide, the group aims to be the provider of choice and partner in solutions for the offshore and marine industry.

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