Mercator enters offshore rig business

Vol 10, PW 9 (24 Aug 06) News in Brief

Mumbai-based shipping fleet owner Mercator Lines is the latest company to enter the booming offshore drilling rig business.

PETROWATCH learns Mercator has placed an order with Singapores Keppel shipyard for one 350-feet jack-up rig with a 10,000-psi Blow Out Preventor (BOP). Construction of the rig will begin in 2007 and delivery will take place in 2009.

In the intervening period, Mercator plans to look for other opportunities in the top end of the upstream business. They (Mercator) dont plan to enter the onshore rig business, says an industry source, because it is not seen as high value.

We are told that Mercator plans to invest about $500m over the next two years in the offshore upstream business. Theres a possibility that theyll buy rigs also.

Mercator now owns 11 crude oil tankers including one Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) and two bulk cargo carriers. In addition Mercator has 11 bulk carriers on long-term charter.