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Pete Miller to lead joint venture between Baker Hughes, MHWirth

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Baker Hughes and Akastor have announced an agreement to create a joint venture company that will bring together Baker Hughes’ Subsea Drilling Systems (SDS) business with Akastor’s wholly owned subsidiary, MHWirth. The new company will deliver a global full-service offshore drilling equipment offering that will provide customers with a broad portfolio of products and services.

The new company will be owned 50-50 by Baker Hughes and Akastor. Following the closing of the transaction, the company’s operations will be managed from current offices in Houston and Kristiansand, Norway. Merrill A. “Pete” Miller will serve as Chairman and CEO. Mr Miller has been in the oil and gas industry over 40 years holding various leadership roles, including Chairman, President and CEO of National Oilwell Varco.

The company’s broader scope of services will also provide a more solid foundation for future growth, including the capability to participate in the oil and gas industry’s transition toward more energy-efficient solutions, as well as deploying technologies and service solutions to make the sector more competitive through increased drilling efficiency.

“I would like to express sincere gratitude to the good work and dedication shown by the respective teams of Baker Hughes and Akastor for making this happen despite the current challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karl Erik Kjelstad, CEO of Akastor. “I strongly believe that this company will give a solid basis for both organizations to meet the current challenges in today’s market and to continue as a leader in developing advanced and efficient drilling solutions that support the industry’s transition towards more sustainable operations.”

“This transaction is a major step for MHWirth and the transformation strategy announced in February 2019,” said Kristian M. Røkke, Chairman of Akastor. “The company will offer customers a strengthened product offering and investors attractive value creation. This transaction will also allow Akastor to maximize and, ultimately, realize value to its shareholders.”

“The oil and gas industry is rapidly evolving, and we are constantly looking at new and innovative ways of delivering value to our customers,” said Neil Saunders, Executive Vice President of Oilfield Equipment at Baker Hughes. “This company is the perfect fit between our respective portfolios and further transforms our core operations for long-term success, bringing complementary solutions to market and offering our customers a full offshore drilling equipment package.”

The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to occur in the second half of 2021.

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