Keppel FELS will build two Gusto MSC CJ70 harsh environment jack-up rigs worth $1bn for Maersk Drilling Holdings Singapore.

The company claims that the CJ70 rigs are ideal for operating in the harsh environment of the North Sea at water depths up to 150m.

The rigs’ features include offline pipe handling and simultaneous operations, and an enlarged cantilever reach that will increase drilling efficiency compared with conventional units.

The design also includes multi-machine control on the drill floor for a degree of automation to ensure a safe operation and consistent performance.

The first rig is expected to be delivered by the end of 2013, followed by the second rig seven months later.

As part of the agreement, Maersk may opt for an additional jack-up unit with Keppel FELS.