On 11 April, the OFT accepted undertakings offered by Transocean Inc arising from its merger with GlobalSantaFe (GSF) in November 2007. Transocean and GSF are major worldwide suppliers of drilling rigs to oil and gas exploration companies: each party had a worldwide turnover in 2006 of between US$3 and 4 billion. The merger was considered by a number of competition authorities worldwide including the OFT and the US Department of Justice.
In the UK, the OFT accepted the parties’ arguments that the sale of two of the rigs previously operated by GSF in the UK sector of the North Sea addressed the OFT’s competition concerns, and on that basis decided not to refer the merger to the Competition Commission.
George Perez and Ben Rayment acted for the parties before the OFT; they were instructed by Baker Botts in Houston, Texas, on behalf of Transocean and by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom on behalf of GSF.