Etesco Receives Full Financing for Newbuild Drillship


Of the 12 drilling contracts awarded by Petrobras in May 2008, the first one to be fully financed is the Etesco VIII drillship. With capacity to drill in water depths up to 10,000' and at a cost of US $820MM, the unit will be built by Samsung shipyard in South Korea. The drilling and subsea equipment will be supplied by National Oilwell Varco. The drillship will be used in Petrobras pre-salt drilling program, off the coast of Brazil, beginning at the unit's delivery in early 2012.

In today's challenging financial market, the success of completing the financing for this project was determined by the reliability of the contract signed with Petrobras, the strength of the equity investors and the quality of the lending institutions.

The partners are the local Brazilian sponsor and future operator of the unit, Etesco Construcoes E Comercio Ltda, one of Japan's largest conglomerates, Mitsui & Co, Ltd., Japan's leading shipping companies, NYK (Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha) and K-Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd.), Japan's only drilling company, JDC (Japan Drilling Co., Ltd.) and Mike Mullen Energy Equipment Resources from Dallas, Texas.

The lending group is made of ING Bank N.V., Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Cooperation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ufj., as well as Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank. Also an important portion of the financing package was the participation of Norwegian ECA- GIEK (Garanti-instituttet for eksportkreditt), to be funded by Eksportfinans ASA.

The total financing of the project was arranged by Norway's Arctic Securities ASA, based in Oslo.

This successful transaction may indicate that the worst of the financial crisis that essentially halted even high-return projects may now be behind us. This is very essential for Petrobras' objectives for the pre-salt frontier and allows them to have a chance to materialize. Petrobras has announced that its Board of Directors has approved the Business Plan for 2009-2013 period.

The plan, which includes investments in the pre-salt area in Santos Basin, envisages total investments of US $174.4 billion in 2013.