Baker Hughes and Akastor to form global offshore drilling solutions joint venture

Source: press release, 1 March 2021

Akastor CEO, Karl Erik Kjelstad
Akastor CEO, Karl Erik Kjelstad (photo: Akastor)

Baker Hughes and Akastor ASA have announced an agreement to create a joint venture company that will bring together Baker Hughes’ Subsea Drilling Systems (SDS) business with Akastor’s wholly owned subsidiary, MHWirth AS. The company will deliver a global full-service offshore drilling equipment offering that will provide customers with a broad portfolio of products and services.

The transaction will result in a leading equipment provider with integrated delivery capabilities, financial strength, and flexibility to address a full range of customer priorities. The company will be owned 50-50 by Baker Hughes and Akastor, and following the closing of the transaction, the company’s operations will be managed from current offices in Houston, Texas, and Kristiansand, Norway. Merrill A. “Pete” Miller will serve as chairman and chief executive officer. Miller has been in the oil and gas industry over 40 years holding various leadership roles including chairman, president and chief executive officer of National Oilwell Varco.

The company’s broader scope of services will also provide a more solid foundation for future growth, including the capability to participate in the oil and gas industry’s transition towards more energy-efficient solutions, as well as deploying technologies and service solutions to make the sector more competitive through increased drilling efficiency.

“I would like to express sincere gratitude to the good work and dedication shown by the respective teams of Baker Hughes and Akastor for making this happen despite the current challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic,” says Karl Erik Kjelstad, CEO of Akastor. “I strongly believe that this Company will give a solid basis for both organisations to meet the current challenges in today’s market and to continue as a leader in developing advanced and efficient drilling solutions that support the industry’s transition towards more sustainable operations.”

“This transaction is a major step for MHWirth, and the transformation strategy announced in February 2019,” says Kristian M. Røkke, chairman of Akastor. “The company will offer customers a strengthened product offering and investors attractive value creation. This transaction will also allow Akastor to maximise, and ultimately realise, value to its shareholders.”

“The oil and gas industry is rapidly evolving, and we are constantly looking at new and innovative ways of delivering value to our customers,” says Neil Saunders, executive vice president of Oilfield Equipment at Baker Hughes. “This company is the perfect fit between our respective portfolios and further transforms our core operations for long-term success, bringing complementary solutions to market and offering our customers a full offshore drilling equipment package.”

MHWirth is a global provider of advanced drilling solutions and services designed to offer customers a safer, more efficient and reliable alternative. MHWirth has a global span covering five continents with offices in 13 countries.

Baker Hughes’ SDS business is a division of the Oilfield Equipment segment of Baker Hughes and is headquartered in Houston. SDS provides integrated drilling products and services worldwide, with service and manufacturing facilities in 11 countries and a competitive portfolio, including world-class blowout preventor (BOP) systems, controls and riser equipment.

The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to occur in the second half of 2021. Morgan Stanley, Paul Weiss, Thommessen, and EY are acting as advisors for Baker Hughes. Goldman Sachs, BAHR, Sidley Austin, and EY are acting as advisors for Akastor.