Seahawk Drilling seeks bankruptcy; to sell fleet

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Feb. 14
-- Seahawk Drilling Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to sell its fleet of jack up drilling rigs to Hercules Offshore Inc. for $105 million, providing the bankruptcy court approves.

Seahawk issued a Feb. 11 news release saying its revenues were hurt by a slowdown in Gulf of Mexico drilling after the deepwater Macondo well blowout in April 2010. BP PLC operated Macondo. The US government temporarily halted drilling in deep water and imposed new drilling regulations.

“I think it is important to note that Seahawk was forced to seek strategic alternatives only after an unprecedented decline in the issuance of offshore drilling permits,” said Randy Stilley, Seahawk’s chief executive officer. “The decision by regulators to arbitrarily construct unnecessary barriers to obtaining permits they had traditionally authorized has had an adverse impact not only on Seahawk, but on the sector as a whole.”

Seahawk owns 20 jack ups. Hercules owns 30 rigs, vessels, and other equipment. Both companies are based in Houston.

US Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) issued a statement from Washington, DC, saying the bankruptcy filing means “worst-case predictions are now true,” adding, “I have said repeatedly that the administration’s excruciatingly slow release of oil and gas permits will cause job losses and undue economic hardship.”

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