GC Rieber Shipping has signed an agreement with Rasmussengruppen to establish a new, jointly-owned marine geophysical company called Shearwater GeoServices.
Starting out with a fleet of four seismic vessels, Shearwater GeoServices will become an integrated provider of marine geophysical services to oil and gas and multi-client companies.
The new company will have headquarter in Bergen, Norway. Irene Waage Basili will act as interim CEO for Shearwater for a period until a permanent CEO is in place and Andreas Hveding Aubert will act as interim CFO until a permanent CFO is in place. Peter Hooper will be chief operating officer of Shearwater while Bjarne Stavenes will take the position as vice president Marine Acquisition. In total approximately 140 people are employed by Shearwater and its subsidiaries as of October 13, 2016
“Over a period of time, we have examined opportunities to establish a new geophysical company, based on the four high-end vessels we currently own. In Rasmussengruppen, we have found a partner who shares our view of the opportunities offered by the geophysical market at present, and, equally important, who shares our vision to build and develop Shearwater into a leading player in the industry,” said Irene Waage Basili, CEO of GC Rieber Shipping.
“Shearwater is set up from the start with a modern and cost-efficient fleet, an experienced organization, and a solid financial platform. Supported by GC Rieber’s extensive industry experience, we believe Shearwater will have a unique position in the market that can also consider further strategic opportunities,” commented Dag Rasmussen, Rasmussengruppen CEO.
GC Rieber Shipping and Rasmussengruppen will own the company 50/50. Shearwater will take over four seismic vessels: Polar Empress, Polar Duke, Polar Duchess, and Polar Marquis and the partners will also inject USD 60 million in equity in the form of cash. Terms have been renegotiated with the lending banks for the four vessels. The new terms include a 75% reduction in installments compared to the original repayment profile until June 2019, and an extension of the term of the loans until year end 2022. Shearwater has also agreed on the main terms to purchase the seismic equipment (including streamers) and the operative entity, Dolphin Geophysical UK, which includes the processing business from the former lending banks of Dolphin Geophysical ASA.
Shearwater will receive technical and crewing support from GC Rieber Shipping with regards to marine operations. Shearwater’s own organization is being established, in part on former Dolphin Geophysical staff and in part on new hires.
The agreement between GC Rieber Shipping and Rasmussengruppen is conditional upon final loan documentation with the lending banks in line with agreed term sheets, as well as entering into final sales and purchase agreements for the seismic equipment. Closing of the transaction is expected to be in place during fourth quarter of 2016.
“Together with Rasmussengruppen, we are excited about the establishment of Shearwater which we believe is uniquely rigged to take advantage of the opportunities which we see in this space going forward. This is will be the first step on an exciting journey for our motivated employees, as well as for us as owners,” said Irene Waage Basili.