Interest in Songa rigs soars

NORWAY’S Songa Offshore is getting interest on a “daily” basis from parties keen on providing financing for the second of four Category D semi-submersible rigs it has on order in South Korea for use by compatriot state oil major Statoil.

The contractor has had “significantly higher volumes” of interest in financing the Songa Encourage and Songa Enabler than it did for the first two units — Songa Equinox and Songa Endurance — in the four-rig series at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, according to chief executive Bjornar Iversen.

All four units have long-term contracts with Statoil off Norway, with financing for the first pair to be finalised this month, Iversen said.

“(We see) a strong interest in the Cat 3 and 4 — we are getting proposals every day, almost,” he said.

Each unit is costing an average of around $660 million, with $100 million earmarked for project management and mobilisation costs. The first two will leave South Korea in the fourth quarter, with the third and fourth sailing away in the second quarter next year.

The Encourage floated out of the dock on 22 February to join the Equinox and Endurance alongside, with its derrick due to be lifted on board in April.

The last two will work on the Troll field for eight years with 12-year options, with the Encourage set for the Norwegian Sea and the fully-winterised Enabler to head to the Barents Sea.

Songa is also closing in on the sale of two older semisubs, the Songa Venus and Songa Mercur. It was originally hoped they would be sold by the end of next year.

Iversen said four potential buyers, which he would not identify, were in the running, with the possibility of deals being concluded in the first half of the year.

A major factor holding up the intended sales is Songa selling an entire drilling organisation, not just the rig hardware, Iversen said.

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