West Alliance Wins Drilling Contract from Unocal

The self-erecting semi-tender rig West Alliance has been awarded a letter of intent for production drilling by Unocal Makassar Ltd. in Indonesia. The assignment has a duration of three years, and the contract value is estimated at approximately US$ 73 million, including upgrading costs. The contract includes a right to terminate after 18 months and is subject to final approval by the Indonesian oil company Pertamina. Commencement is scheduled in January 2003 in continuation of the unit's current contract with Esso Production Malaysia Inc. after a brief period in shipyard for modifications required for the Unocal work.

This is the first deepwater drilling contract awarded to a self-erecting tender unit. The semi-tender is to drill production wells on the West Seno field at a water depth of approximately 1000 meters offshore Indonesia.

West Alliance is designed for deepwater drilling operations in combination with mini tension-leg platforms (TLP) or Spar platforms. This is a new field development concept allowing the use of dry wellheads, which compared to a subsea solution gives significantly lower drilling costs, lower capital expenditure and more cost-effective well intervention and maintenance.

"This contract award is a break-through for our new semi-tender deepwater concept," says CEO Kjell E Jacobsen.