ENSCO Orders Drillship with Retractable Thrusters!?

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By Rob Almeida On April 6, 2012

At first it looked like just another drillship order.

Samsung Heavy wins a $645 million order to build a DP3 drillship for ENSCO, however buried in the middle of the press release read:

New features on ENSCO DS-8 include retractable thrusters, enhanced safety and environmental features…

Wait…Retractable thrusters?!

I talked to ENSCO yesterday and they noted that this new feature was a Rolls-Royce design, and that by retracting the forward thrusters, it increased the efficiency of the vessel while in transit while also reducing the overall maintenance burden.

Most importantly however, this new feature will help to reduce down time.  At an average day rate of over a $500 thousand per day, any investment that can keep these rigs up and working longer is money well spent by the contractor and anyone who’s ever had to switch out a thruster knows that it’s not a snap of the fingers… it takes many costly hours and is, to be quite frank, a pain in the ass.

Besides having retractable thrusters, the ENSCO DS-8  has other unique features such as below-main-deck riser storage, triple fluid systems, offline conditioning capability and enhanced client and third-party facilities.

Storing upwards of 12,000 feet of 21″ heavy gauge steel riser on deck presents a significant vessel stability issue, not to mention all the associated drill pipe and casing.  Considering this rig may very well be destined for the arctic and the associated surface area of this pipe, this stability issue could be compounded significantly under ice-loading conditions.  Under these circumstances, storing the riser in a cargo hold below the main deck, is likely a smart move.

Consistent with the previous five Samsung ultra-deepwater drillships ordered since 2007, this new drillship is based on the proprietary Samsung GF12000 hull design measuring 755 feet in length and 125 feet in width. It will offer a payload in excess of 22,000 metric tons and a 1,250-ton hoisting system. The rig’s design and capabilities include numerous features that increase operating efficiency. Primary to these capabilities are enhanced and redundant offline tubular stand-building features and a 165-ton active heave compensating construction crane, allowing for the deployment of subsea production equipment without interference with ongoing drilling operations.

The rig, which will be initially outfitted for drilling in water depths of up to 10,000 feet, will be equipped with dynamic positioning in compliance with DPS-3 certification; six-5.5 megawatt thrusters for enhanced station-keeping; expanded drilling fluids capacity; a 15,000-psi subsea well control system with six rams, upgradable to seven rams and/or a second BOP stack; burner boom for well testing; and living quarters for up to 200 personnel.will be built to meet the demands of ultra-deepwater drilling in water depths of up to 12,000 feet and a total vertical drilling depth of 40,000 feet.

Ensco Chairman, President and CEO Dan Rabun said:

An ongoing trend of new deepwater oil and gas discoveries around the globe is creating a high demand for equipment capable of tapping those resources. Our track record of leading safety and deepwater performance increasingly makes us the driller of choice for operators working in complex offshore fields. Our high-grading strategy will ensure that we continue to be equipped to respond to rising customer demand.” The latest EnergyPoint industry survey rates Ensco first in total customer satisfaction among offshore drillers overall and specifically in safety, health and environment performance as well as in deepwater drilling.

This addition to our fleet is in keeping with our strategy of standardization, which streamlines construction, operations, inventory management, training, regulatory compliance, repairs and maintenance,” Mr. Rabun pointed out. “We are very pleased to continue our successful newbuild drillship program with Samsung.

This vessel will be the sixth Samsung DP3 drillship in the Ensco fleet, extending the benefits of Ensco’s fleet standardization strategy. The contract also includes options for two additional drillships of the same design and is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2014.

Ensco’s three active DP3 drillships are currently contracted into 2016 in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West Africa. A fourth, ENSCO DS-6, is undergoing pre-commissioning modifications in preparation for its first well assignment under a five-year contract with BP. ENSCO DS-7 is scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2013.

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Posted on April 6, 2012, in Drillship, ENSCO, MARINE VESSELS and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.

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