Bahrain-based First Energy Bank has announced the formation of a new US$3 billion offshore drilling and services company, MENAdrill. Launched with strategic partners Gulf Finance House and ADWOC and strategic and technical advisors PFC Energy International and Noble Denton, MENAdrill plans to be one of the largest companies of its kind in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa and is designed to capitalise on ever-increasing hydrocarbon prices and the resulting robust demand for oil and gas drilling services.

Headquartered in Bahrain, MENAdrill will focus on offshore exploration and development drilling in the GCC, North Africa and South East Asia. The company aims to have over 20 rigs operating within three to five years and is in the process of acquiring a leading drilling company with a number of rigs already working in the region and others under construction. MENAdrill’s diversified drilling portfolio will include jackup and semisubmersible rigs capable of drilling in shallow, medium and deep water as well as land rigs and it will also provide project management services.

Esam Janahi, Chairman of First Energy Bank said, “With the oil price regularly reaching record highs and reserves steadily decreasing, we saw a first class opportunity for a new company to bring together the skills, know-how and investments required to drive the industry in the region and set a new benchmark in drilling operations. By penetrating this high entry barrier industry with its high margins, MENAdrill will be able to deliver outstanding returns to its investors.”

“The largest European and South American reserves are offshore. In the Middle East, Africa and Asia, offshore reserves are not fully explored. MENAdrill is positioned to capitalize on the heavy global investment in finding and delivering new resources and has set the cornerstone for a leading off-shore drilling regional operator,” noted Mr. Janahi.

The lead financial advisor is First Energy Bank. Launched in 2008 with an initial paid-up capital of US $1 billion, First Energy Bank focuses on key sectors of the energy industry, from oil and gas to power, offering Sharia-compliant investment solutions backed by professional standards of the highest order.

Strategic partners are Gulf Finance House and ADWOC.

Gulf Finance House (GFH), based in the Kingdom of Bahrain, is at the cutting edge of the rapidly expanding international Islamic banking industry. The bank’s commitment to the Islamic Sharia philosophy of wealth management shapes the structure and direction of its investment products. GFH is licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain and has paid up capital of US$ 239 million and authorised capital of US$ 300 million.

PFC Energy International, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, MENAdrill’s strategic advisor, is part of the worldwide PFC Energy group, which has been a trusted advisor to energy companies, governments and other organizations across the globe for over twenty years, providing innovative insights and solutions that help clients make successful decisions.

“By harnessing the substantial private capital resources of producing regions to invest in global energy infrastructure First Energy Bank will make a valuable contribution toward increasing global capacity,” said Raoul Leblanc, Senior Director of PFC Energy International. “PFC Energy International looks forward to using our wide experience of the global exploration and production and oil service industries to provide strategic advice to the MENAdrill project.”

The PFC Energy Group has a professional staff of over 100 based in offices in Washington DC, Paris, Houston, Bahrain, Lausanne, Kuala Lumpur and Buenos Aires.

MENAdrill’s technical partner is Noble Denton, a company with in-depth experience and capability in marine consultancy and ocean engineering services to the offshore energy industry.

“As the premier global provider of marine and engineering services to the offshore industry, Noble Denton is delighted to be working with First Energy Bank, with whom we have developed an excellent relationship, and are very excited about the potential that they will bring to the offshore drilling market,” noted David Wells, Managing Director, Noble Denton. “We exist to provide global capability in complex marine operations and offshore engineering.”

Noble Denton brings global capability in complex marine operations and offshore engineering. Headquartered in London, it is an independent Company that can trace its roots back to 1904 and has an established permanent presence in all the major oil and gas centres of the world.

In the Middle East Noble Denton specialises in offshore activities from detailed engineering design to offshore construction activities to specialist marine operations such as rig moving. With a loyal Client base consisting of almost all offshore drilling rig owners and oil majors throughout the region, the company attend on over 100 jack up rigs during rig moves and represents most major local and international underwriters.

ADWOC (Arab Drilling and Workover Company), is a leading oil and gas onshore drilling and workover company with operations in North Africa. The Company owns and operates a highly mobile fleet of nine drilling and five workover rigs.