Eurasia Drilling to Tap Middle East, North African Rig Market

Eurasia Drilling Co. (EDCL), the largest Russian oilfield services company by market value, plans to expand into the Middle East and North Africa to diversify.

The company, which increased its Russian onshore drilling market share to 29 percent in the first half from 25 percent last year, bought two rigs in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan with a commitment to purchase a third. Eurasia plans to secure more drilling contracts in Iraq, said Kim Kruschwitz, a marketing vice president.

“We would very much like to use this particular rather small acquisition as a platform to do more in the Middle East,” Chief Financial Officer Richard Anderson said on a conference call today. “There are some asset groups for sale there and we are looking at one or two of those.”

Eurasia expanded outside the former Soviet Union this year for the first time in an attempt to break into new markets. It’s also been building jack-up rigs at Lamprell Plc (LAM)’s shipyard in the United Arab Emirates to increase offshore drilling in the Caspian Sea.

The company will add 10 to 12 drilling rigs in 2012 and 2013 to its existing fleet of 258. It plans to increase onshore drilling by about 16 percent to at least 5.6 million meters of wells this year from 2011 after acquiring Russian assets from Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB)

First-half revenue rose 24 percent to $1.6 billion up from last year, the Moscow-based company said in a statement. Earnings gained 24 percent to $187 million.

The company receives a higher average day rate for its rigs in the Caspian Sea, compared with the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and North Sea, Kruschwitz said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at

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