VESSELS, RIGS, UPGRADES | Offshore

David Paganie Houston

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New construction frenzy

The newbuild construction rage continues across all facets of offshore field development from drilling rigs to construction barges.

Thule Drilling ASA exercised an $80 million option with UAE rig construction yard QGM Group LLC for a newbuild Friede & Goldman (F&G) Super M2-designed jackup. Thule holds an option to execute a second newbuild contract with the shipyard.

The F&G-designed rig,Thule Energy, will be fitted with a 50-ft cantilever reach and a 3,000-ton variable load, capable of drilling to a total vertical depth of 30,000 ft in up to 300 ft of water.

The $126 million newbuild is scheduled for delivery in November 2007. Pending completed contract agreements, the companys second $120 million F&G-designed jackup,Thule Force, will be delivered in 2Q 2008.

Both rigs are being marketed for commitments in the Middle East. Thule adds that it has an additional nine options with QGM for newbuild jackups.

Meanwhile, the drilling contractors jackup,Thule Power, is undergoing an extensive renovation at QGM against a five-year bareboat charter at $80,000/day with a Middle East-based unnamed oil company. The rig is scheduled for delivery in August 2006.

The company also announced that it sold its semisubmersibleThule Challengeto Dubai-based Atlantic Marine Offshore Services for an undisclosed amount. Thule intends to sell its remaining semisubmerisble drilling asset,Thule Phoenix, as well, in order to become a pure jackup ....

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