Caspian Sunrise completes acquisition of drilling vessel

Caspian Sunrise, an oil and gas company with a focus on Kazakhstan, has completed the acquisition of the Caspian Explorer drilling vessel.

Caspian Explorer vessel
Caspian Explorer vessel; Source: Saipem

Caspian Sunrise announced the deal to buy the Caspian Explorer drilling vessel for $25 million in January 2020.

In July 2020, the company received regulatory and shareholder approvals for the acquisition of the drilling vessel.

In an update on Monday, the board of Caspian Sunrise announced that the re-registration of the shares in Prosperity Petroleum, the UAE company which is the sole shareholder of KC Caspian Explorer LLP the Kazakh registered entity which owns a 100 per cent interest in the Caspian Explorer, has been finalised.

Accordingly, the acquisition of the Caspian Explorer may now be completed.

The Caspian Explorer is a drilling vessel designed to operate in the extreme, shallow waters of the northern Caspian Sea.

The Caspian Explorer was conceived of by a consortium of Korean companies including KNOC, Samsung, and Daewoo Shipbuilding. 

The vessel was assembled in the Ersay shipyard in Kazakhstan between 2010 and 2011 for a construction cost believed to be approximately $170 million. The total costs after fit-out are believed to have been approximately $200 million.

The Caspian Explorer became operational in 2012 at a time of relatively low oil prices and reduced exploration activity in the Northern Caspian Sea. In 2017, the Korean consortium decided to sell the Caspian Explorer by way of a competitive tender with the buyer being KC Caspian Explorer LLP.

In 2017, the Caspian Explorer was hired out to a KazMunaiGas / Indian state oil company joint venture for $28 million after costs and drilled one exploration well to a depth of 3.5 km.

In 2018, the Caspian Explorer was hired out KazMunaiGas for up to $24 million drilling one exploration well to a depth of 1.8 km. The Caspian Explorer did not operate in 2019 or to date in 2020.

Clive Carver, Chairman, said: “It is good to finally complete the acquisition approved by shareholders back in February. We look forward to the barge once again being active in the shallow northern Caspian Sea”.