Rowan Companies plc (“Rowan” or the “Company”) announced that it has exercised its option to build a fourth GustoMSC P10,000 design ultra-deepwater drillship with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (“HHI”) with delivery scheduled in March 2015.
The cost for this rig, including commissioning, project management and spares, but excluding capitalized interest, is estimated to be approximately $620 million. This cost compares to peer companies’ previously announced 12,000 foot capable rigs equipped with 10,000 feet of riser. Rowan plans to equip its drillships with 2,000 feet of additional riser to enable operations in water depths up to 12,000 feet upon delivery. Each drillship will also be equipped with a second BOP for minimizing non-productive time. The Company will also incur operational training and personnel ramp-up costs in readying the drillships to commence well operations. Expected costs for the additional riser, BOP and training and ramp-up costs will be approximately $75 million. Total cost for the Company’s fourth drillship will be approximately six percent higher than the Company’s first three drillships primarily due to equipment price increases and projected labor cost increases. The agreement with HHI also includes an option for a similar fifth drillship exercisable in the fourth quarter of 2012, for delivery in the third quarter of 2015.
Matt Ralls, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are very pleased to add a fourth ultra-deepwater drillship to our fleet. The recent three-year contract obtained for our first drillship, the Rowan Renaissance, and strong customer enthusiasm for Rowan’s history of operational excellence, high-specification drillship design and experienced deepwater team, reaffirms our confidence in our expansion into the ultra-deepwater market.”
The Rowan Renaissance struck steel in July 2012 and is expected to be delivered in late 2013. The second and third drillships are expected to be delivered in the second and fourth quarters of 2014, respectively.
Sonardyne International Ltd. has been awarded a contract by Noble Corporation to supply a Wireless Acoustic Emergency BOP Control System for its new deepwater drillship. The Noble Globetrotter II is the fifth Noble new-build vessel, along with other existing rigs, to be equipped with Sonardyne’s safety critical acoustic technology, providing reliable through-water wireless communications, positioning and BOP control in an emergency situation.
The Noble Globetrotter II is of similar design to its sister vessel, the Noble Globetrotter I. The vessel is due to begin work in the Gulf of Mexico in the second half of 2013.
Noble Corporation is one of the largest offshore drilling contractors in the world and operates a worldwide fleet of 79 rigs and drillships. The Noble Globetrotter II is currently en route to the Netherlands for tower and drilling system installation and once complete, will be capable of drilling in water depths up to 10,000ft. The vessel is due to begin work in the Gulf of Mexico in the second half of 2013 on long-term contract to Shell.
In the event of loss of normal communications with a BOP stack, Sonardyne’s self-contained, high security acoustic command and control backup system is used to execute emergency shutdown and riser disconnect procedures. The digital wideband acoustic signal technology incorporated into the supplied system has been proven to offer reliable performance in a well blow-out scenario despite intense noise pollution from a ruptured wellhead that would have severely limited the performance of an analogue acoustic BOP system.
“We have previously installed Sonardyne BOP control systems on several other Noble rigs so we’re delighted to be able to continue providing them with the critical positioning and control solutions they need,” said Ted Kenny, Business Development Manager of Subsea Control Systems at Sonardyne. “As the only provider with acoustic systems that are field-proven in the immediate vicinity of a major subsea blowout, we have the technology and in-depth knowledge to support Noble as it continues with its deep water exploration activities. The redundancy of the equipment chosen for the Noble Globetrotter II means that they will be able to reliably communicate with the BOP from either the rig or remotely from a standby vessel if the need ever arises.”
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Nautronix’ NASeBOP Control System provides a method of backup control of critical BOP functions in the event of failure of primary communication and control. At the heart of the system is Nautronix’ ADS² (Acoustic Digital Spread Spectrum) signalling technology. The system achieves a highly reliable communications link from a surface vessel to a subsea isolation device, such as a full BOP, or a simple isolation device such as which would be used during surface BOP drilling.
The NASeBOP subsea system consists of two Subsea Control Units (SCU) connected to remote transducers. Each SCU is capable of controlling and monitoring up to eight functions. This includes control of an Emergency Disconnect Sequence (EDS). A 10 meter cable allows remote transducers to be positioned away from the SCUs, thus reducing the risk of shading or multi path effects caused by adjacent structures or subsea objects. Two SCUs provide system redundancy as each can be used independently for control and monitoring.
Mark Patterson, CEO of Nautronix comments: “We have invested more than £1M in Research and Development over the past year with a significant amount in the area of our NASCOM product family supporting acoustic switches for BOPs. We are very pleased to have been awarded these contracts only a few weeks after the NASDrill RS925 orders for these drillships. It is a great testament to the technology, products and the investment Nautronix has made and I am delighted that such a well known and respected company such as Rowan Companies, Inc. have chosen Nautronix ADS² acoustics for their new deepwater drilling rigs. Nautronix continues to build upon our strong track record in the Acoustic BOP control system market.”
The Nautronix system offered is the only system in the world that is fully compliant with API 16D and 17E standards and all test ports are testable to full operating depth (4000msw/5800psi)
The two NASeBOP systems will be delivered in 2013.
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