Gulf of Mexico Yard Chosen to Build TLP

Signal International has been selected by Atlantia Offshore Limited to build the hull structure for the BHP Billiton-operated Neptune SeaStar Tension-Leg Platform. When complete, the TLP will be installed approximately 130 nautical miles offshore in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Under a letter of intent Signal has been authorized to begin material purchases.

The hull fabrication work will begin in the fourth quarter of 2005 at Signal's Orange, Texas facility, which has 450,000 sq. ft. of covered fabrication area dedicated to the offshore and marine industry. This facility has been extensively used to construct offshore drilling and production units. In 2004, the drilling equipment module for a large GoM spar was built and assembled at Signal's facilities using both Orange and its other yards at Port Arthur.

Dick Marler, President and CEO of Signal International, notes that "Signal is pleased to have been selected for this task. The Neptune TLP construction project will give Signal the opportunity to demonstrate that projects like this can be carried out in the US on schedule and in a cost-effective manner."

Signal International, which is ISO 9001:2000 registered, is one of the largest marine and fabrication companies in the Gulf of Mexico providing repair, upgrade, and construction/fabrication services to the offshore industry. With over three miles of water frontage, the six facilities encompass a total of 347 acres and include the East and West yards in Pascagoula, Mississippi and four Texas facilities – two in Sabine Pass, one in Port Arthur and the Orange Yard. The Mississippi and Texas operations each have floating dry-docks capable of docking jackups and semi-submersibles. These yards are equipped to handle substantial modifications, conversions and repairs of semi-submersibles, jackups, drillships, FPSOs and FPSs.

Atlantia Offshore Limited, a member of the SBM Offshore Group, is the EPCM prime contractor, providing the design and overall project management services. The operating company for the Neptune field is BHP Billiton, which holds 35% interest in the field. The other partners are Marathon Oil Company, Woodside Energy (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of Woodside Petroleum Ltd., and Maxus (US) Exploration, a subsidiary of Repsol YPF.