Maersk Drilling To Build New Rig Every 6 Months

On the heals of Seadrill’s new build announcement comes this news from Maersk:

Maersk Drilling, which has the second-youngest fleet of oilrigs, aims to order a new one every six months as rental rates rise and competitors buy each other or combine, its chief executive officer said.

“We need to be somewhat bigger to become a strong factor in the market,” Claus V. Hemmingsen said yesterday in an interview at the company’s headquarters near Copenhagen. The company, which has 3 percent of the offshore market, has a long- term target of expanding its capacity by 50 percent, he said.

Maersk Drilling, owned by Denmark’s biggest company A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, has spent $3 billion the past four years expanding its fleet to 26 rigs from 20 and cutting the average age to eight years, the lowest after Seadrill Ltd. The fleet gives the company an advantage to meet tighter regulation that may follow this year’s Gulf of Mexico spill, Hemmingsen said.

“I imagine we would order two to three rigs over the next 12 to 18 months,” Hemmingsen said. “This will be an ongoing investment plan. It will help expand our fleet, but it’s also necessary if we want to keep the age of the rigs low.”

Rig operators are expanding after a recovery in oil prices since the end of 2008 and drilling in areas such Brazil has stoked demand. Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, said this month it has leased 20 foreign rigs to start drilling in the next two years as it seeks to boost oil and gas output at offshore fields.