Saudi Arabia’s International Maritime Industries (IMI), a joint venture (JV) between Saudi Aramco, Lamprell, Bahri and Hyundai Heavy Industries, signed two rig purchase agreements (RPAs) with ARO Drilling, in addition to a subsequent sub-contract agreement with Lamprell Energy Ltd (LEL) to build two Keppel LeTourneau Super 116E jack-up drilling rigs, according to PR Newswire.

“This award provides many benefits for IMI, including transfer of technical knowledge and IP from LEL to IMI and a mechanism to address the development plans required for IMI employees, so they acquire world-class skills in rig building and planning that will ensure IMI is well equipped to build rigs independently in Ras Al Khair, once IMI’s world-class shipyard opens,” said Fathi Al-Saleem, IMI CEO.

signing these agreements will help boost Saudi Arabia’s growth in the industry and put the kingdom on the map to build jack-up drilling rigs to the highest international rig building standards, noted Al-Saleem.

Kelly McHenry, ARO’s CEO commented that “ARO is committed to increasing our presence in the region and we are pleased to reach agreements that will enable us to use local manufacturing capabilities to support our fleet growth objectives. Through these purchase agreements, ARO will acquire two state-of-the-art jack-ups and we look forward to partnering with IMI on the delivery of these rigs.”

It is worth noting that with these projects, IMI will be the largest full-service maritime facility in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Its annual capacity will be four new-build offshore rigs and over 43 new build vessels including VLCCs, in addition to servicing more than 260 maritime products. Major production operations are expected to commence toward the end of 2020 with the facility reaching its full production capacity by 2022.