Rowan Companies, Inc. has committed for the design and construction of the world's most capable bottom-supported mobile offshore drilling unit. The new rig, to be named Gorilla VIII will be an enhanced version of the Company's Super Gorilla Class rigs and will be designated as a Super Gorilla XL. The Gorilla VIII is estimated to cost $190 million and will be constructed at the Company's Vicksburg, Mississippi facility. Delivery is expected during the third quarter of 2003. Commenting on the investment decision, Rowan Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, C.R. Palmer, stated, "There are numerous tracts in the Gulf of Mexico beyond the water depth capability of existing jack-up rigs. Gorilla VIII will be outfitted with 708 feet of leg, 134 feet more than previous Super Gorillas, and have 30 percent larger spud cans enabling operation in the Gulf of Mexico in water depths up to 550 feet. Gorilla VIII will also be able to operate in water depths up to 400 feet in the hostile environment of Eastern Canada and the North Sea. "Rowan continues to be confident in a bright future for technically superior jack-up drilling rigs operating in niche markets."