Transocean to sell fleet of jack-up rigs for $1.35 billion

Seattle’s skyline provides the backdrop for the Transocean Polar Pioneer while it is being loaded with supplies in the city’s port in 2015. (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Swiss rig contractor Transocean has agreed to sell its fleet of jack-up rigs to Norwegian rival Borr Drilling for $1.35 billion.

Borr Drilling said Monday it plans to buy 15 jack-up rigs, including five under construction, from Transocean, which has its main U.S. offices in Houston.

The deal, expected to close by the end of May, includes any backlog of contract drilling work Transocean had with the jack-up rigs. Borr Drilling said it has signed a letter of intent to buy the machines, and that Keppel Fels, the company assembling the five new jack-up rigs, has approved the move.

Jack-up rigs typically drill in shallow water, with steel legs that reach the seafloor. Apart from these units, Transocean has 30 ultra-deep-water drilling machines and 16 other rigs that drill at various ocean depths.