Following the acquisition, Seadrill’s fleet will consist of 12 floaters, three harsh environment rigs, three tender-assisted rigs, and four benign jack-ups in addition to seven rigs that will be managed under a range of strategic partnerships


The T15 vessel is one of the eight offshore drilling units owned by Aquadrill. (Credit: Aquadrill LLC.)

Offshore drilling contractor Seadrill has agreed to acquire Aquadrill, a UK-based owner of offshore drilling units, in an all-stock deal worth $958m.

According to the Bermuda-incorporated Seadrill, the merger agreement signed by the parties will form a major offshore drilling company. The enlarged firm is expected to have a modern and high specification fleet and an optimised cost structure.

Upon closing of the deal, Seadrill’s shareholders will own 62% of the enlarged firm, while Aquadrill’s unitholders will own the remaining 38%.

Aquadrill will become a fully-owned subsidiary of Seadrill, post-acquisition.

Seadrill president and CEO Simon Johnson said: “At Seadrill we seek to deliver safe and effective operations as the bedrock for generating returns for our shareholders. Seadrill and Aquadrill have a long and rich strategic and operational management history.

“Our shared heritage will promote efficient integration of the two companies.”

Aquadrill owns eight offshore drilling units, of which four are ultra-deepwater drillships, one is an ultra-deepwater harsh environment semi-submersible drilling unit, while the other three are tender assist drilling units (TADs).

The operations and marketing of the company’s drilling units are handled by Diamond Offshore Drilling, Energy Drilling Management, and Vantage Drilling International.

Following the acquisition, Seadrill’s fleet will include 12 floaters, three harsh environment rigs, three tender-assisted rigs, and four benign jack-ups. Apart from that, seven rigs will be managed under a range of strategic partnerships, said the offshore drilling contractor.

Aquadrill CEO Steven Newman said: “We believe this combination will create the most value for our shareholders and will create an excellent platform for high quality service delivery to our customers.”

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions, is anticipated to close in mid-2023. It does not need approval from Seadrill’s shareholders.

Some of the unitholders of Aquadrill, which collectively hold over 75% of the firm’s common units, have agreed to approve the deal. No further vote of Aquadrill unitholders is needed for the transaction.

Recently, Seadrill completed the sale of seven jack-up rigs in Saudi Arabia to subsidiaries of ADES Arabia for $628m.