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Maersk Contractors orders new semi-submersible for contract in the Caspian Sea 
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Maersk Contractors has been awarded a contract with Exxon Azerbaijan Operating Company LLC (Exxon Azerbaijan) for a three-year drilling programme. The contract will entail building a semi-submersible drilling rig for operation in the Caspian Sea. The contract for the new semi-submersible was signed on 1 February with Keppel FELS, Singapore and Caspian Shipyard Company, Baku.

The rig will be drilling in the deep water offshore Azerbaijan in the Nakhchivan and Zafar-Mashal Production Sharing Agreement fields operated by Exxon Azerbaijan and the Absheron Production Sharing Agreement field operated by Chevron Overseas Petroleum Azerbaijan Limited.

The new semi-submersible will be the largest and most powerful unit in the Caspian Sea, capable of drilling in water depths up to 1,000 metres, equivalent to the deepest areas in the Caspian Sea. The variable deckload capacity is 4,000 tons, and the derrick and riser tension capacities are each rated at two million pounds. The rig will be equipped with three 7,500 pounds-per-square-inch working pressure mudpumps and a top drive with 750 tons capacity. The new unit will be able to accommodate 130 people.

The mechanisation and environmental protection systems will be based on Maersk Contractors’ experience of the North Sea, one of the world’s most demanding areas in which to operate.

Construction of the rig will be undertaken by both Keppel FELS in Singapore and the Caspian Shipyard Company in Baku and is scheduled to be completed in approximately three years.

“Maersk Contractors’ entry into the Caspian Sea is part of the A.P. Moller Group’s active expansion in the Caucasus and Central Asian region. The Caspian is estimated to hold huge reserves of oil and gas and offers substantial growth potential for us, and our international customers are already present in the area,” said Thomas Thune Andersen, President of Maersk Contractors. “Our experience of the North Sea will be put to good use since the Caspian Sea offers similarities to the North Sea, with its challenging environmental conditions.”

Contact: Jørgen Jensen, Technical Director, Maersk Contractors,
telephone: +45 33 63 35 42
Maersk Contractors
Maersk Contractors owns and operates a fleet of drilling rigs and production units. The fleet is engaged all over the world with drilling for, or production of, oil and gas for the oil companies.

Since its establishment in 1972 Maersk Contractors, including its affiliated company Egyptian Drilling Company (EDC), has built up a fleet of some 50 drilling rigs including advanced jack-ups, land rigs and drilling barges. In 2000 Maersk Contractors ordered two new units which will share the title as the world's largest and most advanced jack-up drilling rig when delivered in 2002.

The fleet also includes three floating production or storage units as well as a rig based production facility. These units produce oil and gas from marginal fields with subsequent transport to shore in pipelines or tankers.

Maersk Contractors is part of the A.P. Moller Group and employs approximately 4,800 people.