Vantage Drilling’s Tungsten Explorer drillship; Credit: Greg Williams

TotalEnergies doles out $199 million for lion’s share in Vantage drillship

France’s energy giant TotalEnergies is in the process of acquiring a majority stake from Vantage Drilling International, an offshore drilling contractor, in a drillship, which is currently working in Namibia for the French oil major.

Vantage Drilling’s Tungsten Explorer drillship; Credit: Greg Williams

To this end, the duo has inked a binding agreement to create a new joint venture (JV) that will acquire the Tungsten Explorer drillship from Vantage, thus, TotalEnergies will pay $199 million for a 75% interest in the JV owning the rig, with the offshore drilling contractor retaining the remaining 25%. The JV will contract Vantage to operate the Tungsten Explorer rig for ten years.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, commented: “TotalEnergies is pleased to enter into this agreement with Vantage to take shared ownership of a drillship, the Tungsten Explorer, which we already used in exploration and development activities in Namibia, Cyprus and Congo.

“Through this innovative partnership, TotalEnergies will be able to hedge deep-offshore drilling costs: the JV will provide us with both value and flexibility. We look forward to continuing our journey together with the experienced Vantage team that will continue to oversee the rig’s operations.”

With a power capacity of 42 MW and a thrust capacity of 33 MW, the 2013-built Tungsten Explorer drillship can operate in a wide range of meteorological conditions. Currently, the rig is on an assignment with TotalEnergies in Namibia and is working on the Mangetti-1X well.

This MODU is using Excellium additives, a premium fuel developed by TotalEnergies to optimize consumption and reduce emissions. With its hook load capacity of 2.5 million pounds, offline capabilities, and managed pressure drilling equipment, this drillship is said to meet the French player’s envisaged future global needs.

Ihab Toma, CEO of Vantage Drilling International, remarked: “This is a transformative event for the company. This joint venture underscores TotalEnergies’ confidence in Vantage, and our client’s belief in the value of collaborating with a flexible and efficient drilling contractor.

We very much look forward to strengthening our longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship with our esteemed client, TotalEnergies. The proceeds from the sale of the Tungsten Explorer will completely deleverage our balance sheet while putting in place a meaningful, long-term revenue stream leveraging our strong management expertise.”

This acquisition comes while TotalEnergies is also in the process of enlarging its overall gas portfolio with more assets offshore Malaysia, thanks to a deal with Austria’s OMV, which will enable it to get a stake in SapuraOMV Upstream.

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The French player’s portfolio enhancement is expected to be obtained for a total cash consideration of $903 million.