Fredriksen’s Northern Drilling acquires DSME drillships previously cancelled by Seadrill

Fredriksen’s Northern Drilling acquires DSME drillships previously cancelled by Seadrill

John Fredriksen’s new offshore investment vehicle Northern Drilling has entered into agreements with South Korea’s DSME to acquire newbuild ultra-deepwater drillships West Aquila and West Libra for $296m each.

Delivery of the vessels is scheduled for January and March 2021, although a flexible schedule allows for the option to take delivery earlier.

Northern Drilling is paying deposits of $90m per unit, and is going to fund the acquisition via a private placement to raise around $250m. Fredriksen’s Hemen Holdings has already committed to its full allotment worth around $75m.

The company has also received an option from DSME to acquire another newbuild drillship, the Cobalt Explorer, for $350m.

The shipbuilding contracts for West Aquila and West Libra were cancelled in March by Fredriksen’s Seadrill, which is undergoing a restructuring under chapter 11, while the contract for Cobalt Explorer was terminated by US offshore driller Vantage Drilling in 2015.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.

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