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Ocean Rig Bidding to Rent 5 Drillships to Petrobras, Brazil

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DryShips Inc confirmed market speculation that its Ocean Rig UDW drilling unit was bidding to rent out five new drillships to Brazilian state oil company, Petrobras .

Shares of Athens-based DryShips were up 9 percent at $2.95 on Tuesday morning on Nasdaq, a day after it posted estimate-beating third-quarter profit.

Through its majority-owned Ocean Rig unit, DryShips owns and operates 9 ultra-deepwater drilling units, comprising 2 ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rigs and 7 ultra-deepwater drillships.

“We are a part of the tender process for the Petrobras domestic tender. The contracts are still being negotiated, it’s still at a very early stage,” Chief Operating Officer Pankaj Khanna said on a conference call.

He said the 15-year contract at a rate of $620,000 per day would be “very profitable,” adding that the company was confident of receiving financing for 85 to 90 percent of the transaction.

“It would be really positive for earnings in the future, especially given that the current rates are at $500,000 per day for a one-year contract,” analyst Salvatore Vital of Sterne, Agee & Leach told Reuters.

Earlier in the year Ocean Rig, which started trading on Nasdaq on October 6, won a $1.1 billion deepwater drilling contract from Brazil’s Petrobras.

Source: Reuters

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Tanzania Puts Off Offshore Bidding Round for 2012

Tanzania’s fourth deep offshore bidding round has been postponed to next year to allow it to offer new blocks discovered by a latest seismic survey, a state-run agency said on Tuesday.

The bidding round, which was initially scheduled for this month will now take place at a yet to be determined date next year, and include new blocks, the state-run Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) said in a statement.

Tanzania has made significant commercial discoveries of natural gas, but is yet to strike oil.

“The government … regrets to announce the postponement of the 4th deep offshore bidding round. The round was planned to be launched in April 2011.

“The round has been postponed to give more time for preparations. This will include proper demarcation of new blocks using additional new seismic data.”

The government had intended to offer the bids for 13 deep offshore blocks located around 1,200 and 3,000 metres below sea, but the TPDC is now inviting bids for onshore exploration on the northern side of Lake Tanganyika, which Tanzania shares with three other African countries — Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia.

The deadline for submission of bids for the Tanzanian side of the Lake Tanganyika north area is June 7, 2011, at 07:00 GMT.

“We are still collecting more data from deep-sea areas that’s why we had to postpone the fourth round,” George Ngwale, TPDC’s acting Director of Explorations, told Reuters.

“Several other licences held by some companies are also scheduled to be released after the expiry of their four-year terms so these will also be offered to bidders,” he said.

“The new round will be offered in 2012. I can’t specify the exact date and number of blocks to be offered because we are currently compiling data on the available exploration areas.”

Prospectors are studying east Africa afresh as insecurity in other parts of the continent and increasing energy nationalism elsewhere push them to seek new sources.

Gas discoveries in Tanzania, and oil discoveries on the border between Uganda and Congo have peaked interest in the region, which had been largely overlooked.

Tanzania has licensed at least 17 international companies exploring for both offshore and onshore energy sources in the country, the region’s second-largest economy.

Among the firms that hold exploration blocks in Tanzania are Oslo-listed Artumas Group Inc (AGI), France’s Maurel & Prom, Norway’s Statoil, Royal Dutch Shell and Ras al-Khaimah Gas Commission of United Arab Emirates.

By Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala (Reuters)

( Original Article )

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