Rowan scoops two Petrobras jack-up rigs for bargain price

Drilling contractor Rowan Companies has provisionally bought two Petrobras jack-up rigs for just $30 million a piece.

According to a statement by Rowan, dated May 11, the company participated in a public rig auction and was the high bidder for Petrobras’ P-59 and P-60 jack-ups.

The drilling contractor said that the two 2013-built LeTourneau Super 116E jack-up rigs were bought, subject to Petrobras approval, at its bid price of $30 million per rig. The company said the auction results have not yet been approved by Petrobras.

The P-59 and the identical P-60 rigs were built at São Roque do Paraguaçu yard by the Rio Paraguaçu Consortium (RPC) consisting of Odebrecht Engenharia Industrial, UTC Engenharia, and Queiroz Galvão.

At the time, the completion of the P-59 was an important milestone for Brazilian shipbuilding and represented a resumption of domestic production of this type of rig. Before the P-59 was built, similar self-raising platforms had not been built in Brazil for nearly 30 years.

The two rigs were an investment of $360 million per rig meaning that Rowan made quite a bargain addition to its existing fleet. The starting bid for the two was set at $20 million each.

Interestingly, all three companies within the RPC consortium that built the rigs were investigated as part of the Operação Lava Jato or Operation Car Wash, a corruption investigation into Brazil’s state company Petrobras. Odebrecht recently pleaded guilty to bribery charges and cut leniency deals with U.S., Swiss, and Brazilian authorities.

Another coincidence regarding the rigs is that both were launched with former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in attendance, later impeached as a result of the Lava Jato scandal.

According to Brazilian website Brazil Energy Insight, the rigs were just two of seven drilling rigs to be sold by Petrobras through public auctions.

Namely, P-3, P-10, P-16, P-17, and P-23 will also be sold at auction with only the P-23 rig having a minimum bid set at $500,000.

Offshore Energy Today Staff