Rowan Companies and Saudi Aramco have entered into an agreement to create a joint venture that will own, operate, and manage offshore drilling rigs in Saudi Arabia.

By using Rowan's established business in Saudi Arabia as its base, the new company’s scope of operations include covering the country’s existing and future offshore oil and gas fields.

The joint venture is expected to commence operations in the second quarter of 2017.

An agreement to establish a 50/50 joint venture company has been signed by the subsidiaries of the two companies.

Rowan president and chief executive officer Tom Burke said: “The new company will uniquely position Rowan to participate in the growing Saudi Arabian offshore drilling market, and provide Rowan with a compelling opportunity for a long-term partnership with the world's leading oil and gas company, and create a long-term, profitable growth platform with firm rig commitments."

Rowan will provide three of its jack-up drilling rigs to the new company at the time of start of its operations, while Saudi Aramco will contribute two of its jack-up drilling rigs.

Following the completion of current Saudi Aramco contracts in late 2018, Rowan will offer another two jack-up rigs to the new joint venture.

The new company will also be responsible for the operations of five Rowan jack-up rigs currently in Saudi Arabia, until the expiry of their associated drilling contracts.

It is enabled to purchase future newbuild rigs that will be constructed in Saudi Arabia.

Rowan, a provider of contract drilling services, has a fleet of 30 mobile offshore drilling units, comprised of 26 jack-up rigs and four ultra-deepwater drillships.

Image: The new joint venture is expected to commence operations in the second quarter of 2017 . Photo: courtesy of suwatpo/