BP has added two drilling rigs to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, bringing its fleet to a company record nine rigs as it continues to develop its strong portfolio of assets in the key U.S. offshore basin.
One of the rigs is a new ultra-deepwater drillship known as the West Auriga that is under long-term contract to BP from Seadrill Ltd, a leading international offshore drilling contractor. The vessel, capable of operating in up to 12,000 feet of water, has begun development drilling work at BP’s Thunder Horse field.
The other is a reconstructed drilling rig on BP’s Mad Dog oil and gas production platform. It replaces the original rig on the platform that was badly damaged and left inoperable by Hurricane Ike in 2008. With the new, state-of-the art rig, the platform recently resumed development drilling at the massive Mad Dog field complex.
“The addition of these two rigs reflects the vital importance of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to the future of BP,” said Richard Morrison, Regional President of BP’s Gulf of Mexico business. “It also clearly demonstrates BP’s commitment to the American economy and to U.S. energy security.”
BP currently anticipates investing on average at least $4 billion in the Gulf of Mexico each year for the next decade. The company plans to concentrate future activity and investment in the Gulf on growth opportunities around its four major operated production hubs – Thunder Horse, Na Kika, Atlantis and Mad Dog – and three non-operated production hubs – Mars, Ursa and Great White – in the deepwater, as well as on significant exploration and appraisal opportunities in the Paleogene and elsewhere.
BP is also advancing a strong pipeline of future development projects in the deepwater Gulf. In April, the company started up the Atlantis North expansion, the first of seven additional wells to be tied back to the existing Atlantis platform. At Na Kika, another field expansion is planned, following the successful startup last year of the Galapagos development, a subsea tieback to the Na Kika production facility. BP is also pursuing plans for a second phase of the Mad Dog field.
With the signing of a contract for the newbuild drillship Deepwater Advanced 2 Maersk Drilling adds USD 694 million to its contract backlog. Five out of seven newbuild drilling units have now secured contracts..
Maersk Drilling has signed a contract with ConocoPhillips Company a wholly owned subsidiary of ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil Company a wholly owned subsidiary of Marathon Oil Corporation for the second ultra deepwater drillship in a series of four identical drillships currently under construction.
The estimated total contract value is USD 694 million including mobilization, but excluding cost escalation compensation. The contract duration is three years, with options for up to an additional two years and commencement of operations is expected by mid-2014 upon delivery from Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, mobilization to the US Gulf of Mexico and acceptance testing. The drillship will be equipped with two Blow-Out-Preventers (BOPs).
The drillship will be employed by ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil for their respective drilling programs in the US Gulf of Mexico.
“We are pleased to having been able to customize a drilling contract with ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil combining their respective drilling programmes into a three year drilling contract providing security of deepwater rig availability for the two companies while leaving some flexibility in regards to the timing of their drilling programmes. In addition, merging the two programmes provides us with a contract with an attractive duration,” says Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Drilling and member of the Executive Board of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group.
Strong demand for advanced drilling rigs
Since 2011 Maersk Drilling has invested USD 4.5 billion in seven new drilling units currently under construction; three ultra harsh environment jack-ups at KeppelFELS in Singapore and four ultra deepwater drillships at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea. With the latest contract for the second drillship five out of the seven newbuild rigs have now secured contracts.
“We are pleased to see continued strong demand for our advanced drilling rigs. This contract brings further evidence to our strategic focus on ultra harsh and deepwater drilling and provides firm ground for our ambitious growth plans,” says Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Drilling and member of the Executive Board of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group.
Maersk Drilling has performed deepwater operations in the US Gulf of Mexico since 2009 with the ultra deepwater semi-submersible Mærsk Developer. In June 2012, Maersk Drilling secured a contract for the first drillship under construction with commencement in the US Gulf of Mexico expected by end 2013.
“The US Gulf of Mexico remains a focus area of Maersk Drilling, and we are pleased to further expand our presence in this attractive market positioning us with three ultra deepwater rigs by 2014,” says CEO Claus V. Hemmingsen.
- Maersk Drilling has hit the ground running in Angola (maerskpress.com)
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- Shell Gives Transocean a Huge Shot in the Arm with 40 Years of Drilling Contracts (gcaptain.com)
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More than 32 km of 84- and 76-mm chain is on order for delivery at the end of the year, which will be added to already the largest holdings of mooring equipment in the world. The chain, available to customers worldwide, will be used to renew and supplement InterMoor’s vast inventory of mooring equipment and will be used primarily to support the company’s preset mooring programs or add on to the mooring components of drilling rigs.
In addition to the chain purchase, orders for buoyancy and ancillary equipment have also been placed to support the growing needs of InterMoor’s regional locations.
Tom Fulton, InterMoor president, said “This purchase will strengthen InterMoor’s position as the leading global mooring, foundations and subsea services company and will offer our customers quicker access to vital equipment, thereby reducing downtime and costs,” said Tom Fulton, InterMoor president. “This is a very large investment that shows commitment to the developed regions and will help our customers start exploring in areas where constraints in the supply of chain might have previously been a challenge. Renting equipment speeds up the mobilization of drilling rigs, reduces capital investment requirements and enables our clients to concentrate on their core work.”
A deckhand prepares to secure a boat Friday at Port Fourchon. The port received minimal damage from Hurricane Isaac, the facility’s director says. Abby Tabor/Staff
Xerxes A. Wilson
PORT FOURCHON — Hurricane Isaac could have been worse at this hub for boats, rigs and manpower that serve most of the Gulf of Mexico’s oilfield.
The port shut down Monday as a mandatory evacuation was ordered in advance of the storm. Isaac dealt a direct hit to the port early Wednesday, but the facility reopened two days later, emerging with what officials describe as minor damage.
Electricity was still out Sunday, but Director Chett Chiasson said the docks, supply yards and other facilities buzzed with activity.
“Our biggest concern was the possibility of channel restrictions and damages to facilities where we would not be able to operate efficiently,” he said, “but that doesn’t seem to have happened.”
Getting the port running was key to allow Gulf oil production to continue, he said.
As Isaac hit, the Federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement estimated that 509 of the 596 oil-production platforms and 50 of the 76 drilling rigs the Gulf had been evacuated. By Sunday, workers remain evacuated from 131 platforms, 22 percent, and 18 rigs, 23 percent. About 71 percent of Gulf oil production and 55 percent of natural-gas production remained halted Sunday.
Through the weekend, massive oceangoing vessels could be seen navigating the port’s channels as gulf oil production resumes.
The port serves as a staging area for half the drilling rigs in the Gulf and production of about 20 percent of the nation’s oil supply, Chiasson said. Supplies, equipment and rig infrastructure are typically brought into the port by truck along La. 1 then loaded onto towering vessels before being transported to the Gulf.
Read More: Houma Today
Following the acquisition, Hercules Offshore holds 21,012,834 shares in the Company, corresponding to 32.1% of the share capital. Two members of the Discovery Offshore Board are executives of Hercules Offshore. Discovery Offshore is a Luxembourg-based public limited liability company incorporated in January 2011 for the purpose of owning new ultra high specification jackup drilling rigs.
The Company’s main assets are two Keppel FELS Super A high specification harsh environment jackup rigs currently under construction, with delivery scheduled for the second quarter and fourth quarter of 2013, respectively.
Vantage Drilling, a Cayman Islands exempted offshore drilling contractor, reports a net loss of $10.0 million or ($0.03) per diluted share for the three months ended June 30, 2012 as compared to a net loss of $40.1 million or ($0.14) per diluted share for the three months ended June 30, 2011.
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EQT Corporation today announced the launch of a pilot program to begin converting drilling rigs to liquefied natural gas (LNG), displacing the diesel used to power equipment at the well site. This program marks the first LNG rig conversion in the Marcellus Shale and will provide a cleaner burning alternative fuel for the region’s drilling operations.
“We want to be a leader in reducing the environmental impacts related to drilling and we are proud to be the first operator in the Marcellus to launch such a program,” states Steve Schlotterbeck, President Exploration and Production for EQT. “Along with safety, protection of the environment is top-of-mind for our employees, contractors, and of course communities. We continually look for opportunities to improve our operations and displacing diesel, by introducing the use of alternatives such as LNG and field gas, is one way of doing so,” Schlotterbeck continued.
LNG is natural gas in its liquid form and from a physical property standpoint is as safe as, or safer than, using traditional fuels, such as propane or diesel. LNG, if exposed, evaporates quickly and leaves no residue on water or soil. Compared to diesel, natural gas emits between 20% and 30% less carbon dioxide and has a fraction of the emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and particulates.
There are other LNG benefits, such as a reduction in fuel costs — with LNG being about 40% less expensive than diesel. The use of LNG also provides another means of reducing our dependence on foreign oil imports — with sourcing coming from various U.S. shale plays. The LNG being used for EQT’s pilot program is produced locally from Marcellus natural gas reserves.
EQT’s initial rig conversion is now operating in Northern West Virginia; and pending evaluation of the pilot program, the Company hopes to convert additional rigs in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
- EQT Converts Shale Gas Drilling Rigs to LNG (environmentalleader.com)
- Natural-gas prices force down number of Marcellus drilling rigs (philly.com)
- Natural Gas: Where Endless Money Went to Die (mb50.wordpress.com)
TOTAL E&P Australia (Total) has signed up to use AGR’s Riserless Mud Recovery (RMR®) system. The contract is for two exploration wells to be drilled over the next year in the Browse Basin off North West Australia.
Bernt Eikemo, AGR’s Vice President of the Enhanced Drilling Solutions (EDS) division (Asia Pacific), said: “AGR is delighted to be part of Total’s drilling team during the forthcoming exploration campaign. We hope that this is the start of a long, successful relationship with Total E&P Australia.”
He added: “Our previous experiences with several operators in the Browse Basin and the North West Shelf have shown that unconsolidated sand formations become much more benign when drilled with RMR® using a proper mud system.”
RMR® has been used by Total on several other projects internationally but this is the first time that the operator has used the system in Australia.
The main reason for using RMR® on these wells is to be able to drill through the unconsolidated sands of the Grebe Formation. It is renowned for stuck-pipe problems when drilling riserless using seawater and sweeps.
RMR® (system example attached) enables the use of weighted, engineered mud in the top-hole section. All mud and cuttings are returned to the rig with no discharge to the seabed. The top-hole section can be drilled more safely, quickly and with less impact on the environment.
RMR®, together with its sister technology the Cutting Transportation System (CTS™), has been deployed on more than 500 wells worldwide to date.