Vyborg Begins Building Shtokman Rigs

VYBORG, Leningrad Region -- Vyborg Shipyard on Friday began building the first of two drilling rigs for Gazprom's Shtokman project in the Barents Sea as the country seeks to develop Arctic energy deposits.

The first platform will be delivered in October 2010 and the second the following March, said Valery Levchenko, general director of Vyborg Shipyard.

The Vyborg plant, on the Gulf of Finland, won a 59 billion ruble ($2.5 billion) contract from Gazprom in August to build the two rigs. The shipyard may bid for another contract with Gazprom.

"The company will announce a competition for two more drilling rigs in spring 2009 and announce the results within three months," Yury Shamalov, general director of Gazprom shipping unit Gazflot, said Friday.

Vyborg is building the rigs with Samsung Heavy Industries which won a $1 billion order in January to deliver the above-water sections for the two semisubmersible rigs.