In September 2008, two construction contracts were signed with Maritime Industrial Services Co Ltd Inc (MIS) Sharjah, UAE to construct the two Super M2 jackup rigs based on a new design developed by Friede & Goldman, one of the oldest and most experienced U.S. drilling rig design firms. The two rigs, named MENAdrill Hercules I & II, are currently under construction and on schedule, and will be ready for operations worldwide including operations in the Arabian Gulf, the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia this year. They will be able to operate in water depths of up to 300 feet with a drilling depth capability of between 20,000 to 30,000 feet.
Additionally, in December of 2009, FEB in its capacity as project sponsor and developer signed a Management Agreement with Hercules Offshore Arabia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hercules Offshore Inc. a leading provider of offshore contract drilling, liftboat and inland barge services with extensive operations throughout the world. Headquartered in Houston, USA, Hercules has a solid track record of operations in the Middle East, West Africa and the Far East. Approved and licensed as a drilling contractor by all of the world’s leading oil and gas exploration companies, Hercules operates a fleet of jackup rigs across three continents and is the fourth largest in the world and the largest in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. They have a current fleet of 30 jackup rigs operating in various parts of the world including two of them being deployed on long term contracts with Saudi Aramco.
“MENAdrill, which closed its books at the end of last year, was launched directly before the global financial crisis came to a head. Like many industry sectors, it underwent restructuring to ensure its viability in the new global environment. We are very proud of how efficient and effective that restructuring was, and the fruits of those initial labours by the MENAdrill team can be seen with the MENAdrill Hercules I, and the MENAdrill Hercules II, which is set to follow later on this year,” said Mr. Esam Janahi Chairman of First Energy Bank.
Commenting on the floating ceremony of the first of the new MENAdrill rigs, Mr. Kevin Hudson, MIS Managing Director said, “This milestone is significant both to MENAdrill and to MIS. Having delivered three offshore jack-up drilling rigs to our clients over the past year, we are pleased to be progressing with the construction work on MENAdrill’s first jackup rig. With this, we also look forward to building on the strong relationship with First Energy Bank and its partners.”
Mr. John Rynd, Chief Executive Officer and President of Hercules Offshore said, “We are pleased to offer our congratulations to the MENAdrill team on the accomplishment of the floating and naming of the MENAdrill Hercules I. Achieving this milestone on schedule after one of the most challenging years the industry and the financial markets have experienced in a generation is a testament to the dedication, skill and patience of the entire MENAdrill and MIS project teams. We are proud of our relationship with MENAdrill and we are pleased to have the opportunity to market and operate these new and highly capable rigs.”
Mr. Vahan Zanoyan, CEO of First Energy Bank concluded by saying, “In our industry, finding the right partners and forming the right partnerships is essential to our growth and development. It therefore made absolute sense to partner with both Hercules and MIS, as they have proven themselves time and again to be solid performers committed to helping develop and grow the offshore drilling industry, which has typically lagged behind onshore drilling throughout the region. The two new MENAdrill rigs will help meet the rising demand, and need, for solutions to tap the region’s more difficult to reach oil and gas fields, most of which have yet to be fully explored..”
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