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Jack-Up Specialist Shelf Drilling Falls in Oslo Debut, But Optimistic on Rising Rig Rates

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June 25, 2018

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By Nerijus Adomaitis OSLO, June 25 (Reuters) – A fall in equities and oil markets knocked shares in Shelf Drilling on their Oslo market debut on Monday, although the world’s largest owner of shallow water rigs was optimistic rig rates are set to rise.

The Dubai-based company’s shares were trading at 63.64 Norwegian crowns at 1400 GMT, below their initial public offering (IPO) price of 65.35 crowns.

“I think it (the share price move) is more of a response to a broader market movement than anything specific to the company,” Chief Executive David Mullen said.

Stocks in Asia and Europe fell on concerns about a trade dispute between the United States and other major economies, while Brent crude eased after a deal between OPEC and other oil producers to increase production.

Shelf Drilling’s debut came four years after it abandoned plans to list in London in the wake of an oil price downturn.

The company raised about $225 million in the offering, it said on Friday, the latest drilling firm to list in Oslo to raise capital.

Mullen told Reuters on Monday the company expected to see higher rig rates in 2019 and more consolidation of the fragmented market.

He forecast utilisation of marketed rigs would rise to near 80 percent by the end of this year from 74 percent currently, giving rig owners more leverage to ask for higher prices.

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“So going into 2019 we should see some pricing power, and some real price movements,” he said in an interview, adding the Middle East, North Sea and West Africa were the most promising regions for jack-up rigs.

About 80 percent of Shelf Drilling’s current business relates to drilling extra wells at existing oilfields to help to drain the reservoirs or to repair existing wells.

As a recovery in crude oil prices increases oil companies’ interest in offshore exploration and field developments, Mullen plans to acquire more so-called premium rigs, better suited to search for new resources than standard specification rigs.

“Today we have eight premium jack-ups and we want to see that grow … I would like to ultimately grow to a fleet of 15, maybe 20, premium jack-up rigs,” Mullen said.

Mullen also said he expected more consolidation in the drilling rig market between small players, and big deals too.

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“I think you are going to see some big mergers … but we are more interested in acquiring assets, not so much interested in doing broad M&A deals,” he said.

Copenhagen-listed conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk is expected to try to sell its drilling arm, Maersk Drilling, but has not found a buyer so far.

Mullen said Shelf Drilling itself was not seeking a broad deal with Maersk, but could be interested in buying some of the Danish company’s benign environment jack-up rigs.

($1 = 8.1000 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Jane Merriman and Mark Potter)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

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