US services giant Baker Hughes and Norwegian contractor Akastor are forming a new joint venture company to deliver global offshore drilling solutions.

The company’s wider scope of services will include the capability to participate in the oil and gas industry’s transition towards more energy-efficient solutions, as well as deploying technologies and service solutions to make the sector more competitive through increased drilling efficiency.


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The 50:50 partnership, confirmed on Tuesday, will combine Baker Hughes subsea drilling systems (SDS) business and Akastor’s wholly owned subsidiary MHWirth with the aim of driving productivity and cost synergies.

“The oil and gas industry is rapidly evolving, and we are constantly looking at new and innovative ways of delivering value to our customers,” said Neil Saunders, executive vice president of oilfield equipment at Baker Hughes.

“This company is the perfect fit between our respective portfolios and further transforms our core operations for long-term success, bringing complementary solutions to market and offering our customers a full offshore drilling equipment package.”

The novel company will have dual operational headquarters in Houston in the US and Kristiansand, Norway.

Industry veteran and former boss of National Oilwell Varco, Merrill A “Pete” Miller will serve as its chief executive officer.

“I would like to express sincere gratitude to the good work and dedication shown by the respective teams of Baker Hughes and Akastor for making this happen despite the current challenges caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic,” said Akastor chief executive Karl Erik Kjelstad.

Baker Hughes’ SDS business provides integrated drilling products and services worldwide, with service and manufacturing facilities in 11 countries and a portfolio that includes blowout preventer (BOP) systems, controls and riser equipment.

Closing of the transaction, which is subject to customary conditions including regulatory approvals, is expected in the second half of 2021.