Maersk Inspirer rig was installed on Yme field in December 2020

Repsol and Yme partners to buy Maersk Drilling jack-up

Offshore drilling contractor Maersk Drilling has made plans to sell one of its jack-up rigs to Havila, which will, in turn, lease and later sell the rig to the Yme field licence, operated by Repsol, for a price tag of $373 million.

Maersk Inspirer rig; Source: Maersk Drilling

Repsol has on behalf of the license entered into agreements to take over day-to-day operations of the jack-up rig Maersk Inspirer from Maersk Drilling.

Repsol (55 per cent WI) is the operator of the Yme field and partners are Lotos Exploration and Production Norge (20 per cent WI), KUFPEC Norway (10 per cent WI), and OKEA (15 per cent WI).

OKEA said in a statement on Thursday that, according to the agreements, Maersk Drilling will sell the Maersk Inspirer to Havila Sirius and the Yme licensees will lease the rig from Havila under a bareboat charter whereby the Yme licence will take ownership of the rig at the end of the lease period.

In a separate statement on Thursday, Maersk said it will sell the rig for a price of $373 million. The rig owner will also deliver certain transitional services, and a transfer of undertaking will be completed whereby certain employees are expected to be transferred from Maersk Drilling to Repsol.

Furthermore, it has been agreed that, in the transitional period post-closing and for a firm period of 12 months, Maersk Drilling will provide drilling management services against payment of a management fee, which is not included in the proceeds.

The reorganisation of operations is expected to enable operational synergies and significant positive cash flow effects for the Yme licence partners, OKEA explained.

“As partner in the Yme licence, OKEA expects that the transaction will realize significant operational synergies as well as positive effects on corporate cash flow”, said Knut Gjertsen, SVP Projects and Technology in OKEA.

“We look forward to getting Yme in production in the second half of this year and believe that this structure will support an efficient start-up of the production from the field”.

The transaction is subject to certain conditions being satisfied, including relevant authorities’ approval.

The Yme field was discovered in 1987 located in Block 9/2 and 9/5 in the Egersund Basin in the Southern North Sea, approximately 100 km from the Norwegian coastline.

The Yme New Development Project consists of the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of a new wellhead module on top of existing facilities at the Yme field, the modifications and upgrading of the Maersk Inspirer and subsequent hook-up of the unit to existing wells and seabed installations offshore.

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The Maersk Inspirer was delivered in 2004, and following an initial drilling campaign in the UK, the rig was converted to a Mobile Offshore Drilling and Production Unit to provide simultaneous drilling and production service on the Volve field offshore Norway for Equinor in the period from 2007 to 2017.

From late autumn 2018 until 29 December 2020, Maersk Inspirer was at the Aker Solutions’ yard in Egersund for upgrading and modifications work. Maersk Inspirer was successfully installed at the Yme field on 31 December 2020.

In related news, Maersk Drilling has also recently revealed it had sold the jack-up rig Maersk Guardian to New Fortress Energy and entered into an agreement about the sale of the jack-up rig Maersk Gallant with anticipated closing in June 2021.