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.