Transocean to spin off shallow water business unit

Offshore drilling leader Transocean Inc. has announced it will spin off the remnants of last year's R&B Falcon acquisition - its Gulf of Mexico Shallow and Inland Water business unit - in a float later this year.

It plans to establish the unit as a separate, publicly traded company which will consist principally of jackup and drilling barge operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico but will also cover the company's drilling operations in Trinidad and Venezuela.

The fleet is currently made up of 28 jackup rigs, three submersible rigs, 31 inland drilling barges and a platform rig, as well as nine land rigs in Venezuela. Transocean Inc. acquired these assets in early 2001, following its merger with R&B Falcon Corporation.

"Proceeds generated from an initial public offering will be used primarily to continue our focus on debt reduction," said Transocean CEO J. Michael Talbert,

Transocean also announced that Jan Rask has joined the company to be President CEO of the separate entity. Mr. Rask previously served as President and CEO of both Marine Drilling Companies, Inc., from 1996 to 2001, and Arethusa (Off-Shore) Limited, from 1993 to 1996.