Apache Declares Force Majeure on Rowan Rig

Rowan Cos. received notice on June 22 that Apache had declared force majeure on Rowan jackup Cecil Provine, which had been working in the Gulf of Mexico, due to delays in obtaining new drilling permits following the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Rowan, which is evaluating its response to the notice, said that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement issued two Notices to Lessees (NTLs) implementing new safety regulations and information requirements applicable to shallow water drilling operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

"These NTLs impact the ability of our customers to obtain new permits on a timely basis and continue operations uninterrupted under existing permits. We are working with our customers to meet these requirements," Rowan said in a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

Rowan said it has seven jackups that have been impacted by the requirements of these recent NTLs. Rowan Juneau and the Rowan Alaska are currently stacked and are unlikely to receive new contracts until the issuance of permits resumes.

The Rowan EXL-I and the Rowan Gorilla II are under contract but Rowan does not believe they have permitted work beyond their current operations for the duration of remaining operations, estimated at 20 and 30 days, respectively. Rowan Louisiana, Bob Palmer and Cecil Provine have been under contract awaiting permits.

Permitted activities are expected to take the Rowan Mississippi and the Ralph Coffman through their contracted terms. However, compliance with the new regulatory requirements may result in some interruption of operations, Rowan noted.

Cecil Provine has been under contract to Apache at a day rate in the low $60,000-range, Rowan reported.