Adnoc Drilling has agreed to buy a trio of jack-up rigs for $320 million, as the Abu Dhabi drilling giant continues to expand its offshore rig fleet.

The subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has signed an agreement to acquire an additional three “brand new high-specification offshore jack-up drilling units”.

The statement added: “With the addition of the latest three high-specification rigs the company will operate one of the largest offshore jack-up fleets in the world, with 30 rigs, and plans further growth in the short term.”

Adnoc Drilling did not disclose the name of the previous owners or operators of the rigs to be acquired.

Its chief executive Abdulrahman Abdullah Al Seiari said: “The latest acquisition of these premium rigs will be central to the company’s success and cements its position as one of the world’s largest jack-up rig fleet owners.”

Fleet expansion

Adnoc Drilling said that since its listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in October last year, it has expanded its fleet from 95 to 108 owned rigs, as of 30 September.

Earlier this year, the company signed agreements for four additional jack-ups in three separate transactions.

Acquisitions and mobilisations of jack-ups have gained momentum in the Middle East this year, with national oil companies in the region eyeing fleet expansions to help scale up their oil production.

Just last week, Singapore’s Keppel Offshore & Marine secured charters for two more of its jack-ups with ADES Saudi for drilling offshore Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year, Consultancy Westwood Global Energy said 2022 has witnessed a busier offshore rig market in the Asia-Pacific region, even though local operators are not responsible for all the demand.

A total of 15 jack-ups will have left Southeast Asia for contracts with Saudi Aramco by late 2022 or early 2023, the consultancy noted.

Upstream understands that many of the jack-ups abandoned by foreign rig managers or owners are being chartered from Chinese yards for operation in the Middle East.

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