Petrobras orders 7 deepwater rigs with EAS for $4.64B

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Brazilian major Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) has approved the contract for seven offshore drilling rigs to explore and develop the company’s prolific pre-salt oil and gas fields.

According to a report from Dow Jones Newswires, Petrobras has awarded Brazilian shipyard Estaleiro Atlantic Sul (EAS) the $4.64 billion contract to build the drilling rigs.

Located in Brazil, the EAS shipyard is run by a consortium between Brazilian firms Queiroz Galvao and Camargo Correa, as well as South Korean firm Samsung Heavy Industries, and PJMR. According to the company website, AES was formed in 2005, the shipyard was completed in 2009, and the company specializes in naval and offshore construction.

For an investment of approximately $662 each, the rigs are scheduled to be delivered by 2015. All seven drilling rigs have signed leases, and the dayrates range from $430,000 to $475,000.

The first of 28 deepwater drilling rigs Petrobras plans to construct, these rigs are going to be owned and managed by a new holding company, Sete Brasil S.A., which will be held 90 percent by national bank Caixa Economica Federal and 10 percent by Petrobras.

According to a 2009 report from Oil & Gas Journal, the first seven drilling rigs will be able to drill in waters up to 3,000 meters deep.

Ultra-deepwater drilling rigs are in high demand due to Petrobras contracting a large majority of the units for exploration and development offshore Brazil. Should all 28 deepwater drilling rigs be constructed for Petrobras, deepwater drilling demand may weaken or dayrates may drop; although deepwater activities are ongoing offshore West Africa and may pick up again in the Gulf of Mexico.

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