Earlier, Northern Offshore had entered into an agreement with an affiliate of Transocean to acquire the rig and expects to close on the rig purchase in the fourth quarter of 2008. Following the closing, the rig will be renamed the Energy Atlas.

The contract is for a period of one year and has a contract value of approximately $155 million. It is anticipated that commencement will occur around 2008 year-end, and will follow in direct continuation of the rig’s current contract backlog after a brief handover period from Transocean. The contract is subject to customary customer rig acceptance and regulatory approvals.

Marion Woolie, president and CEO of Northern Offshore, said: This agreement with AGR is an important step in realizing the value we see in the recently announced acquisition of two semisubmersibles from Transocean. It also represents a cornerstone in building the company’s presence in the North Sea, a core operating region for the company.