Date: 19 May 2008

GC RIEBER SHIPPING - ACQUIRES 40 % STAKE IN GEOTECHNICAL COMPANY BLUESTONE OFFSHORE PTE LTD.


GC Rieber Shipping has through a private placement acquired 40% of the shares in Bluestone Offshore Pte. Ltd, a Singapore based company specializing in deepwater geotechnical analysis. The acquisition price is agreed by the parties not to be disclosed.
- We continue enhancing our position within subsea, says CEO in GC Rieber Shipping Sven Rong, and continues: - Deepwater geotechnical analysis is an attractive niche segment with few players, significant growth and high entry barriers. Our activities within subsea will be expanded and at the same time we strengthen our position in the growing Asian market.
 
Bluestone Offshore ("Bluestone") is an offshore oil & gas services company that specializes in deepwater geotechnical analysis ("core drilling"). Deepwater geotechnical analysis is an essential input for engineering design for offshore oil and gas development. As onshore and shallow water oil production decreases, the trend is towards exploration and development of oil and gas in progressively deeper waters. Deepwater geotechnical analysis is a growing niche with limited participation due to know-how barrier.  In addition to the offshore operation, Bluestone has its own laboratory in Singapore.
 
Bluestone will have its first vessel, the ROV support vessel "Bluestone Topaz" (prev. the "Toisa Mariner"), delivered end May 2008. The vessel will be upgraded and equipped with a derrick system and drill pipe capable of operating in water depths of up to 1,800 metres, which is suitable for most offshore locations in the Asian region. The vessel is expected to be in operation by end 2008. Total capital expenditure for the vessel purchase and subsequent conversion is expected to be approximately USD 20 million, which will be funded through a combination of equity and bond financing. Further plans include investing in two more vessels, targeting extended operation in 2009 and 2010. The strategy also includes investments in additional laboratories.
 
Bluestone runs a cost effective operation focusing primarily on the Asian market. Their activities fit well with the activities currently being established by GC Rieber Shipping in Asia. Bluestone is well positioned for penetration of the Asian offshore market. The further strategy includes expansion to several other offshore markets in the world.
  
- Asia is the fastest growing region in the world for subsea services, comments Sven Rong and continues: - By acquiring a stake in Bluestone, we get a financially attractive entrance into this market with moderate risk, and in addition we can benefit from combined utilisation of vessels. 
 
Through performance mechanisms and share options under the Shareholders' Agreement entered into with the other major shareholders of Bluestone, GC Rieber Shipping's stake in Bluestone may increase or be reduced, but is expected to be in the range between 34 % - 40 %.
 
 
For further information, please contact:
CEO Sven Rong, phone +47 55 60 68 18, or +47 90 55 49 52
CFO Hans Petter Klohs, phone + 47 55 60 68 24, or +47 90 75 05 26
 
 
About GC Rieber Shipping:
GC Rieber Shipping's business within offshore/shipping encompass high quality marine ship management of specialized vessels, project development and industrial portfolio management. The company has a unique competence on operations offshore in harsh environments, as well as design, development and maritime operation of seismic vessels. The company has also built substantial competence on subsea operations, both through the 52% stake in subsea contractor Technocean and through long term cooperation with other key players in the market.
 
GC Rieber Shipping owns and operates five advanced multifunctional special purpose vessels for defined markets within offshore subsea and ice research and support. Further, the company has four offshore new buildings on order for delivery in 2009/10 The company is also in charge of ship management for 12 seismic vessels owned by PGS, CGGVeritas and Fugro, as well as project management and building supervision for four advanced seismic new buildings for Arrow Seismic (PGS).  The company's headquarters is located in Bergen with ship management offices in Sevenoaks (England) and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Russia). The company is listed on Oslo BÝrs with ticker RISH. Further information available on the company's website: www.gcrieber-shipping.no
 
 
About Bluestone Offshore Pte Ltd.:
Bluestone Offshore Pte Ltd. is an offshore oil & gas services company based in Singapore offering deepwater geotechnical services, primarily focusing on the Asian market.
 

2008_05_19_Bluestone