Rowan targeting 11 Saudi rig opportunities
New Orleans, March 29, 2011
Shallow-water oil rig contractor Rowan Cos is bidding on 11 drilling opportunities in Saudi Arabia, chief executive Matt Ralls said, as the world's top oil exporter seeks to expand its drilling.
Saudi Arabia aims to increase the number of rigs it operates by 30 percent, an analyst wrote earlier on Monday, giving a lift to the shares of leading oilfield services companies.
In an interview late on Monday, Ralls said Rowan has three jackups in Saudi Arabia coming off contract in the next few months.
"We are optimistic that they're going to keep those, but we don't know that yet," Ralls told Reuters on the sidelines of the Howard Weil Energy Conference in New Orleans.
By the end of this year, Rowan will have 31 jackup drilling rigs, including 19 considered "high-specification".
Ralls said Rowan had spent somewhere around $3 billion in the last three years on adding the latest jackups to its fleet, and its rivals were now playing "catch-up" with plans for 17 new shallow-water rigs coming on to the market by 2014.
"Operators are demanding more and more of the equipment, and the highest capability rigs in each market segment are getting the jobs," he said. "Where we have missed an opportunity is we never expanded into ultra-deepwater, so we're playing catch-up to the rest of the field in that regard." -Reuters
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