Two Ensco deepwater rigs recertified for U.S. work

* Rig blow-out preventers recertified, helped by being new

* Gulf jackup customer gets first approval for a new well

SAN FRANCISCO, July 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Oil drilling contractor
Ensco Plc (ESV.N: ) said on Thursday two of its deepwater rigs in
the Gulf of Mexico had their blow-out preventers recertified
under new U.S. regulations.

Chief Executive Dan Rabun said there were no guidelines for
completing the recertification, leaving Ensco’s deepwater group
to come up with their own approach.

“Whatever the process that we worked out seems to be a
process that’s working,” Rabun told analysts on a conference
call. “It may or may not be the same process anybody else is
following.”

Ensco executives said the fact the two rigs, Ensco 8500 and
8501, were built in the past few years helped smooth the
process.

“You have the certification pretty much in hand already,”
said Carey Lowe, head of Ensco’s deepwater unit.

The brand-new 8502, due to start work in the Gulf of Mexico
next month, is in full compliance with current regulations,
Rabun said.

Ensco’s second-quarter results, released late on Wednesday,
were ahead of expectations. It faced a limited financial impact
from the Gulf of Mexico regulatory crackdown, helped by the
strength of its deepwater contracts and with six of its seven
shallow-water rigs at work and earning full rates. One customer
even received a permit for a new well in the region.

“This is the first permit we are aware of to drill a new
well in the Gulf under the new regulatory framework,” Rabun
said.

The U.S. government has tightened up its regulations for
offshore drilling, while also imposing a six-month moratorium
on deepwater activity, a renewed version of which London-based
Ensco challenged in court this week. [ID:nN20273760]

Before coming to Ensco in 2006, Rabun was a partner at
international law firm Baker & McKenzie, where he worked for 20
years, but he was unenthusiastic about the return to court,
telling an analyst: “You can’t imagine how I wish I could leave
my law background behind me.”

Stock Market News

(Reporting by Braden Reddall; editing by Andre Grenon)

Two Ensco deepwater rigs recertified for U.S. work