May 19, 2005
Maersk to acquire ENSCO Venezuela drill barges
Maersk Contractors and ENSCO International (NYSE:ESV) have entered into an agreement that will see Maersk Contractors acquire ENSCO's fleet of drilling barges in Venezuela for a cash consideration of $59 million. A definitive contract has been signed and the parties expect to close the purchase in late June when the barges will be taken over by Maersk.
Built between 1994 and 1998 the six barges are similar in size and capacities to Maersk Contractors, existing fleet in Venezuela. With the acquisition Maersk Contractors will have 12 barge rigs on Lake Maracaibo.
"We expect the positive development in Venezuela to continue over the coming years," said Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO, Maersk Contractors. "The production of oil is planned to increase significantly through extensive investments by PDVSA and foreign oil companies in exploration for new wells and workover of existing wells. This will lead to increased activity for drilling barges. With the new fleet Maersk Contractors will be in a good position to meet the increasing demand. We have been present in Venezuela since 1991 and this expansion of the fleet demonstrates our long term commitment to stay in the area".
The sale does not include the ENSCO I barge drilling rig, which is currently under long-term contract in Indonesia. ENSCO says it expects to recognize a minimal after-tax gain from the deal.
Carl F. Thorne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ENSCO, commented: "The sale of the Venezuela barge rig fleet is in keeping with our stated intent to de-emphasize specialized assets. While Venezuela operations contributed meaningfully to our success during our formative years, we believe that this transaction will allow a redeployment of capital to investments which have more attractive return potential."