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Ensign TSX trading over a month

Calgary-based Ensign Energy Services Inc. is building a bigger presence in the U.S. south though the purchase of 30 deep drilling rigs for at least $510 million US.

After the announcement Wednesday, shares in the oilfield services company closed up $1.12 Cdn or 5.8 per cent to $20.51 in TSX trading.

The rigs bought from Rowan Cos. Inc. of Houston are "ideally suited for extended-reach drilling in the oil and natural gas resource plays of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Oklahoma," Ensign said.

The addition of the Rowan rigs will raise Ensign's total to 340, with 115 of those in the United States where the drilling business is getting better, the company said.

The Rowan rigs with their experienced crews and good operational and safety records will compliment Ensign's operations in the Rocky Mountains and California.

Rowan president and CEO Matt Ralls said it expected after-tax proceeds of about $370 million US, which it will be put into the company's offshore drilling business and deepwater expansion.

Ensign will pay $510 million cash plus working capital. It will raise the money from existing working capital, lines of credit and a new term facility of up to $400 million from bankers HSBC.