Financial News

  • 21 March 2014, 10:06

Dubai-Based Oil Firm Banks On London Float

A company spun out of one of the groups found guilty of contributing to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill has lined up bankers to pursue a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Sky News understands that Shelf Drilling, whose assets were previously owned by the oil services giant Transocean, has picked Morgan Stanley and at least one of Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Royal Bank of Canada to oversee the listing.

Shelf was formed in 2012 with the purchase of more than three dozen rigs from Transocean for roughly $1bn.

The company is run by David Mullen, the former boss of Wellstream Holdings, which was also listed in London, and is owned by three private equity firms - Castle Harlan, Champ and Lime Rock.

Shelf's decision to pursue the listing in the UK underlines the prominence of London as a venue for raising capital in the oilfield services sector.

In January, the company issued a statement confirming that it was examining an initial public offering of shares but did not name its banking advisers or the likely listing destination.

Employing approximately 3,500 people, Shelf operates shallow-water rigs in southeast Asia, India, West Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Italy.

It counts Chevron, ExxonMobil, Petrofac and Saudi Aramco among its major customers, and is already understood to have seen a significant financial return since carving out its assets from Transocean two years ago.

Transocean pleaded guilty last year to a range of offences relating to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, for which it agreed a $400m (240m) settlement with the US Department of Justice.

BP, which has been forced to pay tens of billions of pounds for restitution and the clean-up following the spill, this week announced that it had won permission to bid again for exploration contracts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Shelf could not be reached for comment.