Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem has reached an agreement with Chinese yard CIMC Raffles to charter a jack-up rig for a campaign in Saudi Arabia at the end of 2022.

The latest charter reflects the ongoing recovery of an offshore market that is rapidly drawing in an inventory of rigs that foreign owners and managers left behind in Chinese yards when the rig market hit downturns, including the 2014-16 crash.

An agreement between CIMC Raffles and the Singapore-based asset manager Ocean Challenger will see the rig sail away from China’s Shandong province in August and taken to Saudi Arabia for modification work, before being mobilised to carry out the drilling contract for an unnamed Saipem client by the end of 2022.