Secure operations: The Sapura Diamante pipe-laying support vessel deployed in the Gulf of Mexico, is one of six units co-owned with Seadrill. PETALING JAYA: Sapura Energy Bhd’s joint venture with deepwater drilling contractor Seadrill Ltd, namely, Sapura Navegacao Maritima SA (SNM), is not affected by Seadrill’s Chapter 11 filing in the United States for its Asian drilling operations. On Monday, Seadrill filed for bankruptcy protection for its Asian units which covers Seadrill GCC Operations, Asia Offshore Drilling Ltd, Asia Offshore Rig 1 Ltd, Asia Offshore Rig 2 Ltd and Asia Offshore Rig 3 Ltd. This is its second filing in four years. In a statement, Sapura Energy also clarified that the filing has no financial impact on its business plans and financial strength. SNM is the only joint venture between Sapura Energy and Seadrill. Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, SNM is one of the leading subsea services operators in the Brazilian market, with a fleet of submarine service vessels providing support, installation and flexible pipe laying expertise to clients in the region. The company has a workforce of more than a thousand professionals, from 21 different nationalities. In the clarification, Sapura Energy also explained that the filing had no effect on its contracts with Petrobras, which forms the main revenue for SNM, and does not trigger any cross default for the joint venture’s business financing. Meanwhile, in a report, Maybank Investment Bank (IB) Research also said the bankruptcy protection filing by Seadrill does not involve its pipe-laying support vessel (PLSV) operations. Seadrill co-owns six units of PLSVs (Sapura Diamante, Topazio, Esmeralda, Onix, Jade and Rubi) with Sapura Energy, which are chartered for the Brazil (five vessels) and Gulf of Mexico (one unit) markets. Of the five vessels working in Brazil, four units are currently on charter except for Topazio, which is currently bidding for an extension. Sapura Diamante is deployed for its Gulf of Mexico operations. Of the six PLSVs, three vessels are still under financing, up to 2023 (one unit) and 2024 (two units) respectively. Maybank IB Research pointed out that while the PLSV ops are not affected by the Chapter 11, it raises concern over Seadrill’s financial credibility over the longer term period and its potential exit from this partnership, should there be an interested party for these assets. “The Seadrill situation reflects the challenging situation of the oil and gas industry - the need to re-base costs, improve cashflows and to deleverage, ” said the research unit. Maybank IB Research said Sapura Energy’s highly leveraged balance sheet clearly needs to be restructured.
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