Danish maritime industry giant A.P. Moller Maersk is still aiming to sell its offshore drilling and offshore supply vessel businesses by the end of 2018, despite recent reports claiming the drilling business sale might spill over into 2019.
The company in 2016 split its business into one focused on shipping and logistics, and the other on the oil and gas sector, with the final goal of selling its oil & gas related business firms.
Working toward its goal, Maersk has so far sold its oil business – Maersk Oil – to the French oil giant Total in March this year. It earlier sold Maersk Tankers to APMH Invest A/S, leaving it with Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service to find a solution for.
Maersk Drilling as well as the offshore vessel division of the Maersk Group, Maersk Supply Service, were classified as discontinued operations and assets held for sale in 2017 as part of the group’s efforts to separate its oil and gas-related business from the rest of the group.
Earlier this month, Reuters, citing sources close to the matter, said Maersk Drilling might not be sold in 2018, contrary to what Maersk was saying it would go for.
The news agency reported that offshore drilling rivals Diamond Offshore and Borr Drilling might be interested in the potential acquisition. Bloomberg last year reported that Rowan Drilling might be interested, too.
2018 target still on
“Structural solutions for Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service are still expected before the end of 2018”
While any potential suitor for Maersk Drilling has yet to officially come out with an offer, Maersk came out on Thursday and reiterated its plan to sell its drilling and offshore support vessel businesses by the end of 2018.
“Structural solutions for Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service are still expected before the end of 2018,” the company said.
The company has found optimism in the rising oil prices. Namely, the prices hit $80 a barrel on Thursday, highest since November 2014, boosted by recently reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, which are expected to reduce Iranian oil exports.
In a statement on Wednesday, Maersk said. “The market conditions in the offshore industry have shown signs of improvement in recent quarters. Even though day rates are still at a low level, the pick-up in the oil price and the activity level is a positive development.
“This has, among other things, raised confidence in finding structural solutions for both Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service before the end of 2018,” Maersk said.
According to the May 1 fleet status report, Maersk Drilling owns 24 offshore drilling rigs, of which 16 jack-ups, four semi-submersible drilling rigs, and four drillships.
Offshore Energy Today Staff