Awilco orders new offshore rig from Keppel. Names new CEO

UK offshore drilling contractor Awilco Drilling has exercised an option to order its second harsh-environment semi-submersible drilling rig from Keppel in Singapore for a price of $425 million. It has also decided to name a new CEO.

The rig will be built to Moss Maritime’s CS60 ECO MW design and is expected to be delivered in March 2022.

Similar to the first rig, which Awilco ordered in March 2018, the drilling unit is designed for mid-water operations in water depths up to 1,500m and able to work in the harshest environments of North West Europe, including the Barents Sea.

Awilco will have options to order two more rigs from Keppel.

In an announcement on Friday, March 8, Awilco said it had appointed Jens Berge as Chief Executive Officer. Berge will succeed Jon Oliver Bryce.

“The Board would like to thank Jon Oliver Bryce for his nine years as Awilco Drilling’s CEO. At the same time, we are very pleased to announce that Jens Berge has accepted to take over the CEO position,” said Sigurd E. Thorvildsen, Chairman of the board of Awilco Drilling.

Jens Berge will assume his new position no later than June 4, 2019. In the meantime, the board has appointed Roddy Smith, Chief Operating Officer, as interim CEO.

Berge, a Norwegian citizen, has served as Chief Operating Officer at Prosafe since November 2017. Previously, he worked at A.P. Møller Maersk/Maersk Drilling, where he started in 2002 and latest served as Vice President until 2017.

“With the ordering of two harsh environment semi-submersible drilling rigs from Keppel FELS in Singapore, and independent options for a further two rigs, Awilco Drilling is in a growth and investment phase. The board believes Jens Berge brings the experience and leadership to successfully bring the company through this important transformation,” Awilco said.

“Awilco Drilling has a very capable organization in the UK. Focus is now on building an equally capable organization in Norway, in parallel with building and taking delivery of the new rigs and ensuring attractive contracts,” Thorvildsen said.

Awilco currently owns two 3rd generation semi-submersible drilling rigs, the WilHunter and the WilPhoenix, which have for years operated in the UK sector of the North Sea. With the two newbuilds, the company is now targeting the Norwegian market.

In a recent quarterly report, Awilco said its newbuild rig is expected to be delivered in 2021 when Awilco expects the market will move towards a more balanced supply as aging cold-stacked rigs will require contracts at a significant premium to current rig dayrate levels to justify the reactivation costs.

Offshore Energy Today Staff