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Monday, 4 April 2011

Seawolf enters Nigeria with three oil rigs

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Nigeria’s indigenous offshore drilling contractor, Seawolf Oilservices Limited, has finally made an entry into Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil and gas industry, with three offshore jack-up rigs.
Two of the three jack-up rigs, Seawolf Oritsetimeyin and Seawolf Onome, arrived the Nigerian waters on January 30. They are new builds by the United Arab Emirates-based oil and gas equipment fabrication specialists, Maritime Industrial Services (MIS), valued at a cost of $508 million and they join the third rig, Delta Queen, which has been in the country since last year.
Remi Okunlola, one of the co-founders of the company, gave more insights into the new oil rigs:
“The first of them, Seawolf Onome, is today in the Addax operating location...that’s the first Nigerian-owned rig to ever operate in Nigeria waters and I’m pleased to say that itis the newest jack-up rig in the world and certainly the freshest jack-up rig to ever work in our waters.”
Established in April 2007, the company is co-founded by Adolor Uwanu, an ex-investment banker with Morgan Stanley, and Remi Okunlola, ex-Law partner, Perchstone and Graeys.
Finance controversy
Seawolf Oilservices Limited is financed mainly by Nigerian financial institutions led by First Bank of Nigeria, which has a board representation, and Leadway Assurance Plc, whose managing director, Oye Hassan-Odukale, also doubles as the chairman of the Seawolf’s board. The Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF), a close-end private equity fund, is also a minority investor with 15 percent equity participation.
In the recent past, the oil services firm has been marred in controversy over the source of its financing, its debt exposure, and ownership.
“There are insinuations as to the reason why we were funded other than the business angle but they are all completely wrong. We (my partner and I) were amazed by the non-Nigerianess of the approval. It was approved completely on the strength of the deal. These jack-up rigs are essentially the primary security that the bank has for the investment that was made in us but beyond that, clearly we have a contract,” Mr. Okunlola said.
Major contracts
The contracting of the rigs to operators in the oil and gas industry is a breather for the company. The Delta Queen is currently working for Conoil Producing while the Seawolf Onome is on field test at Addax’ OML 123, offshore Akwa Ibom. The Seawolf Oritsetimeyin, which is currently located at the LADOL base along the Lagos Harbour waiting for contract deployment, has participated in five bids, winning two of them. Contracts negotiations are being finalised, according to the Seawolf.
“We’re hugely leveraged; we borrowed a load of cash from a market that is suffering from a credit crunch. Hence, we want to run this company as a serious venture which is focused on our shareholder value, focussed on growth and development,” Mr. Okunlola added.
The Delta Queen was originally contracted by Norwegian Mosvold Jackup in 2006, while the SeaWolf Oritsetimeyin, and the Seawolf Onome are both Friede and Goldman Super Mod 2 design with 30,000 foot rated drilling depth and an operating water depth capability of 300 feet (92 meters).
The company also said it enjoys huge support from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation’s Nigerian Content Division, and the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) in its bid to get the necessary regulatory licenses and approvals. Reportedly, Seawolf is also getting support from the oil majors, in their efforts to enhance local capacity and increase their local content index.

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