Energy Zapoteca Finally Underway

The Friede & Goldman L 780 designed jackup barge, Energy Zapoteca, got under tow from Tuxpan, Vera Cruz, Mexico to Brownsville, Texas yesterday afternoon at 3:00 PM. The rig departure is noteworthy as it signifies that long pending Mexican labor and vendor liens against the rig have now been satisfied by Norwegian owners thereby clearing the way for a previously announced sale to Nabors Drilling Company (or at least a change of venue to continue the fight between buyer and seller).

The Energy Zapoteca was originally built as the Zapoteca in 1982 at Gotavarken Shipyard in Sweden as a 250 foot cantilever jackup rig for Mexican Drilling Contractor, Protexa Drilling Company. In the mid eighties while drilling for Pemex in the Bay of Campeche the rig was severely damaged as a result of a shallow gas blowout and fire. After insurance underwriters declared the rig a total constructive loss, the wreck sat idle in a state of complete disrepair for 15 years. A consortium of investors led by Norwegian Shipping executive Arne Blystad purchased the wreck and embarked on a major restoration project in early 2000 with a view to reselling the rig into the offshore drilling or marine construction industries. In late 2002 Nabors Drilling Company agreed to purchase the rig in a stock plus cash transaction valued at approximately 10 million USD but Mexican labor and vendor claims tied the rig up in Mexican courts for months preventing sellers from delivering the vessel to Nabors. With all local claims now satisfied, a clear title and the rig on its way to what owners hope will be a friendlier port, it only remains to be seen whether buyer and seller will kiss and make up or continue the Zapoteca wars in Brownsville.