Marine Drilling Companies Inc. announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a jackup rig known as the Baruna V for $13.5 million. The rig is a Bethlehem mat cantilever type unit similar to several of the Company's existing jackup rigs capable of working in up to 200 feet of water. The rig was built in 1980 and is currently operating in Southeast Asia. Marine expects to take delivery of the unit and close on the purchase during the second half of January 2000. Shortly after the purchase, the Company will mobilize the Baruna V and a similar rig, the Marine 201 that is currently in the United Arab Emirates, to the Gulf of Mexico. The Company believes these two mat rigs are well suited for the Gulf of Mexico market where the Company already operates 12 jackup rigs. Jan Rask, president and chief executive officer of Marine, said, "We are pleased to have continued our growth strategy by contracting to acquire the Baruna V. With this acquisition, we will expand our presence in the Gulf of Mexico and continue to provide our customers with quality service and equipment." Marine Drilling Companies Inc. is an offshore drilling contractor with a fleet of 17 offshore drilling rigs located in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and select international markets consisting of 15 jackups, one of which is currently configured as an accommodation unit and two deep-water semi-submersibles.