Essar plans to re-enter drilling rig business

Vol 9, PW 9 (11 Aug 05) News in Brief

Essar looks set to re-enter the drilling business, buoyed by high oil prices and soaring demand for drilling rigs.

PETROWATCH learns the group, once considered a major player in the drilling business, has bought four used Cardwell-type onland drilling rigs manufactured by Ingersoll Rand from the Far East and that delivery is expected in Mumbai port sometime next month. All these rigs are mobile, trailer-mounted units.

Essar already owns one Cabot 1000 horsepower mobile drilling rig, which it has deployed in the companys onland Gujarat exploration acreage CB-ON/3. In September 2002, Essar was forced to sell its profitable drilling business under pressure from Indian financial institutions to help raise cash to finance construction of its 10.5m t/y refinery.

Essar owned 12 onland drilling rigs eight of which were deployed in Oman and four in Qatar. All 12 were sold for $65m with running contracts to the Bin-Jaber Group of Abu Dhabi.