Kazakh Junior Acquires Offshore Rig
Kazakhstan-focused Caspian Sunrise announced on October 19 it had acquired Prosperity Petroleum, a UAE company that owns the offshore Caspian Explorer drilling rig.
The rig, built by Korean firms at Kazakhstan's Ersay shipyard in 2010-2011, is capable of drilling in extreme shallow waters in the northern Caspian Sea. It was hired out to Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas (KMG) and an Indian state partner in 2017 to sink a 3,500-m well and again by KMG the following year to drill a 1,800-m well. Caspian Sunrise will pay for the rig by issuing $25mn of its shares.
Caspian Sunrise announced at the start at the year it wanted to explore for oil and gas in the shallow waters of the Caspian, having until now focused exclusively on onshore development. The company operates the BNG project in western Kazakhstan, where it hopes to expand production substantially by bringing on stream a series of deep wells. It said in January it would consider exploring the Caspian directly by taking part in an operating consortium or indirectly by hiring out the rig.
"To date there are no confirmed bookings for the Caspian Explorer," Caspian Sunrise said. "We believe however, that as exploration activities resume in the shallow northern Caspian Sea we shall over time see interest in chartering the drilling vessel."
Exploration activity in the Kazakh section of the Caspian has been limited in recent years due to low oil prices. But Italy's Eni and Russia's Lukoil have signed up for new projects, raising prospects of new wells being drilled.