Jack-up rigs and drill ships to tackle harsh environments

Paul Boughton

The latest jack-up rigs and drill ships are designed for use in extreme environments - opening up new opportunities for exploration and production. Eugene McCarthy reports.

Maersk Drilling has taken delivery of its first ultra-harsh environment jack-up, Maersk Intrepid, from the Keppel FELS shipyard in Singapore. The jack-up will start its mobilisation to the Norwegian North Sea shortly, where it will commence a four-year contract with Total E&P Norge.

Maersk Intrepid is the first in a series of four new-build ultra-harsh environment jack-up rigs that are due to enter Maersk Drilling's rig fleet between 2014 and 2016. Together, the four represent a total investment of US$2 billion (EUR1.5 billion).

The first three jack-up rigs, including Maersk Intrepid, will be delivered from the Keppel FELS shipyard over the next year, and the fourth will be delivered from the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) shipyard in South Korea in 2016.

The Maersk Intrepid will be drilling the demanding and complex wells on the Martin Linge field development in the Norwegian North Sea. This contract includes four one-year options; the estimated value of the contract is US$550 million (EUR406 million).

With a leg length of 206.8m, the rigs are the world's largest jack-up rigs and are designed for year-round operation in the North Sea, in water depths up to 150m. Uptime and drilling efficiency are maximised through dual-pipe handling. While one string is working in the well bore, a second string such as a casing, drill pipe or bottom hole assembly can be assembled/disassembled and stored in the set-back area, ready for subsequent transfer for use in the well bore and thus reducing the non-productive time.

The drill floor itself features multi-machine control - a fully remote-operated pipe handling system allowing all standard operations such as stand building and tripping to be conducted without personnel on the drill floor. This ensures a high level of consistency across crews and an improved efficiency.

In June, a jack-up drilling rig constructed by CIMC Raffles and named New Sheng Li 1 was delivered to Sinopec Sheng Li Petroleum Engineering. This was the seventh jack-up drilling rig that CIMC Raffles has delivered. It will be towed to Bohai Bay to provide drilling service to Sinopec Sheng Li Oilfield.

New Sheng Li 1 is the first new-build offshore drilling rig since Sinopec Oilfield Service Corporation was founded in 2012. The basic design and detail design was done by Sheng Li Drilling Technology Research Institute, the shop design and construction design was completed by CIMC Raffles. The rig is the largest and most advanced offshore drilling rig that Sheng Li Oilfield currently owns.

In other news, Prospector Offshore Drilling (PROS) expects that one of its subsidiaries shortly will take delivery of Prospector 5 from the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding shipyard in China. This is the second in the company's series of five high-specification, harsh environment jack-up drilling rigs built to the Friede and Goldman JU2000E design.

Upon delivery the rig will be mobilised to the UK sector of the North Sea where it is expected to begin its contracted work for Total E&P UK and Elf Exploration UK in September.

Robert W Rose, PROS president and chief executive officer said: "The delivery of Prospector 5 is an important milestone towards our goal of building and operating a modern fleet of high-specification jack-up rigs that are capable of working in harsh environments."

New concept drillship

Fincantieri Offshore has signed a contract with AVEVA to implement AVEVA Marine software in the concept design phase of Proxima, a major offshore drillship project.

Proxima is a revolutionary design with an innovative drilling system that significantly increases the speed of the drilling process (Fig. 1). It can therefore be a powerful tool for drilling contractors to boost their profitability, not only by drilling more efficiently, but also by drilling wells that were not previously possible.

"For a groundbreaking project such as Proxima we need to have a leading-edge tool that is reliable and efficient, and AVEVA Marine has equipped us with the right one to execute this innovative design," said Giuseppe Coronella, vice president, offshore, Fincantieri.

"We are delighted that Fincantieri Offshore chose AVEVA software for the concept design of this exciting and innovative project," said Evgeny Fedotov, head of EPC sales, AVEVA. "It has been developed using AVEVA Marine solutions, which can support all of Fincantieri Offshore's design disciplines and which has proved its capabilities to optimise integration between the hull and the drilling systems. Fincantieri has a very creative and skilled team and we look forward to working with them on other such revolutionary projects in the future."

Proxima integrates an innovative drilling tower developed by Fincantieri subsidiary Castor Drilling Solution, with a smart deck layout. The result, says the company, is the largest drillfloor on the market.

Compared with other ships in this category, Fincantieri says its drillship designs also feature greater variable deck load capacity despite smaller overall dimensions. This represents an opportunity for drilling contractors to enhance their current fleets with a new class of higher performance, more efficient vessels, whose design can also be customised for specific requirements and operational needs.

Lamprell lands mobile offshore drilling platform contract

Engineering and contracting services supplier Lamprell has received a US$370 million (EUR273 million) contract from a subsidiary of Shelf Drilling for the construction and delivery of two LeTourneau-designed, self-elevating mobile offshore drilling platforms of a super 116E class.

The two jack-up rigs, designed through collaboration between engineering and operations personnel from Shelf Drilling, Shelf Drilling's customer and Lamprell, will be capable of operating in water depths of up to 350 feet and will be used in constructing wells with maximum drilling depth of 30,000 feet. The rigs will feature fit-for-purpose offshore drilling technology, as well as accommodation for up to 160 people.

Lamprell will fabricate both jack-up rigs in its Hamriyah yard, located in the United Arab Emirates. The first rig is scheduled to be delivered in the third quarter of 2016 and the second one in mid-2017. The rigs are being constructed for operations in South East Asia.

James Moffat, Lamprell CEO, welcomed the new contract: "We are delighted to be announcing this project win from Shelf Drilling for the construction of two new-build jack-up rigs, particularly as Shelf Drilling is a new client for the group. This is also our second multiple-rig contract award with a major international drilling contractor in the space of a month, demonstrating that the group's strong project execution in its core markets is being recognised. It also reinforces Lamprell's position as a leading fabricator for jack-up rigs and our highly attractive proposition to clients."

Recent Issues