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Abbot wins US$ 360 million contracts in North and West Africa

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 12/15/2006, Location: Africa

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Abbot Group plc announces that its operating subsidiary, KCA DEUTAG, has been awarded contracts worth more than US$360 million in North and West Africa, including its 350 feet rated jack-up rig Neptune, which is currently being refurbished, and its two new Nomad Class land rigs being built by its subsidiary Bentec.

Abbot confirms that its operating subsidiary KCA DEUTAG has received a binding LOI from a major operator in West Africa for a three-year contract with options for its Neptune jack-up rig. Valued at US$225 million, this contract is due tocommence in the second quarter of 2007 at a day rate of US$190,000. The rig will be mobilised to West Africa from the Gulf of Mexico for a fee of US$15million to be paid by the operator.

KCA DEUTAG has contracted the heavy lift vessel 'Black Marlin' to effect the mobilisation with an estimated departure from the Gulf of Mexico towards the end of February 2007, which will coincide with the completion of the rig's upgrade programme.

In Algeria, BP in association with Sonatrach, has awarded KCA a one-year contract with options for its two 1500hp Nomad Class rigs, built by Abbot's subsidiary Bentec. This contract is due to commence in the fourth quarter of 2007 and is worth US$32million for the two rigs.

In Libya, KCA DEUTAG has also been awarded a three-year contract with options, for its 3000hp T-202 land rig, which will be mobilised from Bangladesh. Scheduled to commence in December 2007, the latest contract is valued atUS$45 million. Also in Libya, Veba Oil has awarded KCA DEUTAG a well-to-well contract for its 700hp workover rig T107, which is estimated to continue over a period of one year.

KCA DEUTAG has also been awarded two contracts in Nigeria, together worth about US$50 million, from SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, operator of the NNPC, Shell, Agip and Elf joint venture). SPDC has awarded atwo-year contract with options for the 1000hp T103 rig, with commencement scheduled for May 2007, and a two-year contract with options for KCA DEUTAG's newly built 2000hp T209 rig, which is due to start operating in June 2007.

As a result of these awards, the Group has, at today's date, fixed forward contracts valued at in excess of US$ 2.3billion with optional contract extensions to 2012 with a value of over US$ 1.6billion.

The Group continues to benefit from the growing international demand for its land rigs with day rate contracts achieving increases of up to 40% in rates for new contracts. Overall, the day rate increase over the entire land rig fleet hasbeen 16% in 2006, and continued growth in 2007 and beyond is anticipated.

With its portfolio of fixed contracts and extension options the Group has secured almost 90% of its budgeted turnover for 2007 and 70% for 2008.

Abbot also confirms that, as indicated at the time of the Group's interim results, the original contract for the jack-up rig Tellus has been terminated. The Group is now at an advanced stage of negotiations for this rig to enter into a long term contract with a major operator at attractive market rates and a further announcement will be made in due course.

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