Asia Offshore Drilling Limited (the “Company”) has decided to increase the water depth capacity from 350 feet to 400 feet for its three jack-up rigs under construction. This investment will increase the marketability of the rigs, allowing them to successfully operate in more offshore areas.
The additional capital expenditure to extend the legs is estimated to be below US$ 5 million per rig. These upgrades will have some impact on the delivery schedule of the first two rigs, as the first rig will be delivered in the first calendar quarter of 2013 and the second rig will be delivered by the end of the second calendar quarter of 2013. The delivery of the third rig remains unchanged at the end of the third calendar quarter of 2013.
The Board believes these upgrades will improve the long-term return on investment for the Company’s shareholders. The Company has an option for construction of one more jack-up rig at Keppel FELS that matures on September 30, 2011. The Board has resolved to not exercise this option. Given the prevailing uncertainty and volatility in the financial markets, the Board’s objective is to enhance the quality, marketability and value of the existing rigs rather than incur additional financial risk by ordering a fourth rig. The decision not to exercise the option will ensure that the Company remains fully financed up to the delivery of the first rig in 2013.
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