Driller John Energy IPO hopes revived

Vol 14, PW 11 (18 Nov 10) People & Policy

Third time lucky they say, and hopefully this will hold true for drilling contractor John Energy, which is planning a stock market launch in 2011.

“Our IPO should hit the market sometime before ‘Diwali’ (October 26) next year,” a company source tells PETROWATCH. “The size of the listing is being worked out and should be finalised by early next year.

” Ahmedabad-based John, with a fleet of 12 drilling rigs and 13 workover rigs, was forced to shelve a proposed stock market launch in 2008 because of the global recession. Talk of an IPO in 2009 again led to nothing.

But John has now revived its IPO plans as it transitions from being a solely India-based contractor into a formidable force on the international market. This October (2010), John won its largest overseas contract from Algerian oil company Sonatrach, becoming the first non-American company to win an Algerian drilling contract in an international bidding round.

Wasting no time, John has begun mobilising its 2000-hp onland rig John-16 and 1500-hp onland rig John-17 for the three-year $70m Algerian contract. “John-16 was shipped on November 10 from Mumbai’s Nhava Sheva port,” we hear.

“John-17 will be shipped from Nhava Sheva on November 28. Baker Hughes is the ‘lead contractor’ (for the Algerian project) and we will work with them.

” Both John-16 and John-17 are Drilling Structure International design rigs that were manufactured in 2007. In total they will drill 55 wells at Algeria’s oldest and largest oilfield near the desert town of Hassi Messaoud, located 850-km southeast of the capital Algiers.

John has also successfully won drilling contracts in Uganda and Kazakhstan over the past two years. In April this year (2010), London-listed Dominion Petroleum hired a John Energy rig to drill at its Ngaji (Silverback Gorilla) acreage at exploration block 4B in Uganda.