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Bully I Makes Debut in GOM

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by  Noble Corp. & Shell

Shell and Noble Corp. announced the Gulf of Mexico arrival of the Noble Bully I, a state-of-the-art offshore drilling rig that is designed to raise the bar in terms of safety and performance. The Noble Bully I (UDW Drillship) is the first of two Bully rigs, jointly designed by Shell and Noble, and can be equipped to drill in up to 10,000-feet of water.

The Bully rigs also feature a compact box-type drilling tower, known as a Multi-purpose Tower, instead of a conventional derrick. As the name indicates, a Multi-purpose Tower is designed to maximize productivity and safety, yet it allows for a significantly smaller vessel when compared to other deep water drill ships of similar capacity.

The ships also feature an attention to energy efficiency, use less fuel and are shorter and lighter than comparable drill ships. The Noble Bully I and Noble Bully II (UDW drillship), are dynamically positioned drill ships and can, therefore, be positioned at a favorable angle toward wind, waves, and currents, and feature ice-class hulls. Shell and Noble have increased the automated technology on the Bully rigs, increasing personnel safety on board.

The Noble Bully I has now arrived in the Gulf of Mexico from Singapore and will complete commissioning and acceptance testing this month before beginning operations. The Noble Bully I will first drill in Shell’s Mars B, Olympus, development while the Noble Bully II drill ship is expected to begin operations early next year in Brazil.

Source – RIGZONE

South Korean Hyundai Heavy Delivers Deepsea Metro II Drillship

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Deep Sea Metro Ltd. has today taken delivery of the drillship Deepsea Metro II from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

The naming ceremony for the vessel was held on November 10 in Hyundai Heavy’s shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.

President & CEO of Odfjell Drilling, Simen Lieungh states:

“This is the second project for Deep Sea Metro this year and fourth overall that Odfjell Drilling has successfully delivered since the Deepsea Atlantic in 2009. We are pleased to see that our site team and the yard have succeeded in every way, with regards to safety and schedule. The safety results in all our projects are very satisfactory, which is an important indicator of professionalism and accountability in all aspects. With the delivery of this state of the art vessel, we are now looking forward to the operations ahead.”

Deepsea Metro II will start its first drilling campaign for Petrobras , offshore Brazil.

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Is the Industry Ready to Drill in the Arctic? Stena Drillmax Ice Nears Delivery

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By Alexander Wardwell, Det Norske Veritas

Scheduled for delivery in March 2012, the most recent addition to Stena Drilling’s fleet will be the industry’s first ice class +1A1 dual-mast ultra deepwater drillship for arctic conditions. But is the industry ready for offshore arctic drilling?

Based in part on Stena’s proven DrillMAX design, the new drillship, now under construction at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, represents the company’s most ambitious project to date. According to Tom Welo, Managing Director of Stena Drilling, the project was conceived to meet the evolving demands of the industry. “Increased global demand for oil has encouraged energy companies to focus more on exploration,” he says. “And since many of the most promising fields are increasingly found in deepwater and harsh environments, including the arctic, we saw an opportunity to build a drillship to reflect the market.”

Tom Welo Stena Drilling

Tom Welo, Managing Director, Stena Drilling. Photo: Alexander Wardwell

Welo acknowledges that DrillMAX ICE represents a significant investment for the company and so far, the drillship has not secured a contract. “Any newbuilding project built on spec is a risk, but in our view, the greater risk would be to sit still,” he says. “We anticipate continued growth in this segment, and want to strengthen our position as a leading provider of drilling units equipped to operate in harsh environments.”

Flexible operational profile
At present, Stena Drilling operates four semisubmersible drilling platforms and three drillships. While these units have been active all over the world, including the North Sea, US Gulf of Mexico, South East Asia, Mediterranean, Caribbean, South America, North America & Greenland: Atlantic Front, Australia, North Africa and West Africa, the company has earned a strong position as a leading provider of drilling services in harsh environments. While similar to the company’s existing fleet of drillships, the design of DrillMAX ICE has been optimised for ultra deepwater arctic operations.

However, Welo is quick to note that once completed, the unit will be suitable for any job. “While we expect the vessel will be active in the polar region, the design doesn’t limit the drillship to waters above the Arctic Circle,” he says. “Rather, it expands the vessel’s operating parameters to almost any depth or environment.” Welo adds that the new drillship is capable of operating in water depths up to 10,000 feet.

Managing risks in the Arctic
The unit has been optimised for Arctic conditions. Six ice-classed 5.5MW azimuth thrusters, providing maximum manoeuvrability, propel the ice-strengthened hull. Below deck escapeways port and starboard side connect the aft engine rooms with FWD accommodation. Designated moon pools port and starboard allow for installation of two separate ROV systems. Anti-icing equipment protects the unit’s anchors, deck piping, lifeboat escape exits, scuppers and drains while enhanced de-icing machines keeps decks, gangways, and handrails clear. Steam heating coils warm the ballast tanks and drill water tanks and windwalls and cladding offer enhanced protection to the drill floor and dual mast derrick. “Most accidents and near-misses are related to human error, so we have worked hard to ensure the safety and comfort of our crew.”

In total, costs related to adapting the DrillMAX unit for Arctic conditions are calculated somewhere between USD 220 to 240 million. “We did consider adding icebreaking capabilities, but were concerned that the moon pool would collect ice and the cost would be prohibitive,” says Welo. “Instead, when operating in the Arctic, the drillship will have an escort of OSVs to help manage the ice.”

A relative threat
Operating in icy seas and low temperatures, which can drop to –20°C degrees in the Arctic in summer, is challenging, but Welo notes that different environments have different threats. “Operating in the North Sea is complicated by frequent storms and heavy seas and as we saw with Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf of Mexico is hardly a benign environment,” he says. “Icebergs and extreme cold certainly represent a risk in the Arctic, but there is less of a threat from heavy seas and large waves.” Still, Welo adds, DrillMAX ICE can survive waves as high as 30 metres.

While the drillships hull form is based on Stena’s proven DrillMAX design, some topside modifications were included. The drillship is likely to operate in the environmentally sensitive Arctic region, so space was created on deck for an extra six-RAM BOP, providing critical redundancy. “The additional BOP will also help us avoid delays between drilling projects related to the BOP workovers and maintenance.”

Proven concept
While there have been drilling operators active above the Arctic Circle for decades, most notably in the North Sea and the Barents Sea, energy companies have approached exploration in the region with some caution. To help generate more confidence in the Stena DrillMAX ICE concept, the company has worked with a broad range of key suppliers, with extensive experience in harsh environments.

DNV

For example, the drillship is equipped with DP3 station-keeping and related automation systems provided by Kongsberg for operating in ice conditions, knuckleboom deck cranes rated for -30°C conditions, and six-RAM BOPs provided by Cameron. The company conducted extensive Ice Model Testing, and worked closely with DNV to achieve ICE 10 Certification, among other notations. “Stena and DNV have worked together for decades,” says Welo. “Like Stena, DNV has extensive experience in the North Sea managing risk in harsh environments. DNV were thus natural choice to class the unit.”

With the build going well at Samsung Heavy Industries, Welo is looking forward to welcoming DrillMAX ICE into the Stena fleet. In the meantime, he says the company is in dialogue with a number of energy companies that have expressed interest in the concept. “I am confident we will secure a charter soon,” he says. “After all, DrillMAX ICE is coming out of the yard during a time when energy companies are expanding their deep and ultra deepwater exploration programmes. With this unit, we can offer the flexibility to go anywhere.”

Republished with permission, (c) 2011 Det Norske Veritas

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USA: Busy December Ahead of Pacific Drilling’s Drillships

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Pacific Drilling S.A. today provided an update on the status of its ultra-deepwater drillships.  The Pacific Bora commenced its three year contract with a wholly owned Chevron subsidiary on August 26, 2011, and continues to operate in the Agbami Field in Nigeria. The rig has reached performance levels in line with industry expectations.

In addition, following previously announced repairs and upgrades, the Pacific Scirocco is mobilizing from quayside in Port Ngqura, South Africa, to Nigeria, where it is expected to commence a one year contract with Total E&P Nigeria Limited in December 2011.

The Pacific Santa Ana will complete upgrades prior to expected delivery in December 2011, before mobilizing to the US Gulf of Mexico for a five year contract with Chevron as the world’s first dual gradient drilling rig.

The Pacific Mistral arrived in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, on November 21, 2011. The rig will now undergo regulatory approvals and acceptance testing with its client, Petrobras, prior to beginning operations, which are expected to start in December 2011.

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South Korea: Naming Ceremony for Odfjell Drilling’s New UDW Drillship

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Thursday 10th of November 2011 Deepsea Metro II naming ceremony was officially held in Ulsan at the Hyundai Heavy Industries yard. This is the fourth successful ultra deep water vessel delivery for Odfjell Drilling​, with regards to project planning, delivery and excellent HSE performance.

“This is the fourth major project Odfjell Drilling has succeeded with since the delivery of Deepsea Atlantic in 2009. We are very pleased to see that both our own team and the yard have succeeded in every way, with regards to both safety and schedule. The safety results in all our projects are very satisfactory, which is an important indicator of professionalism and accountability in all aspects,” says CEO in Odfjell Drilling Mr. Lieungh

Odfjell Offshore and Metro Exploration share joint ownership of two state-of-the-art ultra deep water drillships. Odfjell Offshore has a 40% ownership share in the two drillships, Deepsea Metro I & II.

Ultra deepwater campaign and fleet renewal

Since 2009 Odfjell Drilling has renewed its fleet of semisubmersibles and drillships with four units. This is a part of the company’s growth strategy in the harsh environment and ultra deepwater market.

2009 – Deepsea Atlantic. Ultra deepwater and harsh environment semisubmersible. Operating for Statoil at NCS.

2010 – Deepsea Stavanger. Ultra deepwater and harsh environment semisubmersible. Operating for BP in Angola.

2011 – Deepsea Metro I. Ultra deepwater drillship owned by Deepsea Metro Ltd. Operating for BG Group.

2011 – Deepsea Metro II. Ultra deepwater drillship owned by Deepsea Metro Ltd. Contract with Petrobras, Brazil.

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Ocean Rig Bidding to Rent 5 Drillships to Petrobras, Brazil

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DryShips Inc confirmed market speculation that its Ocean Rig UDW drilling unit was bidding to rent out five new drillships to Brazilian state oil company, Petrobras .

Shares of Athens-based DryShips were up 9 percent at $2.95 on Tuesday morning on Nasdaq, a day after it posted estimate-beating third-quarter profit.

Through its majority-owned Ocean Rig unit, DryShips owns and operates 9 ultra-deepwater drilling units, comprising 2 ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rigs and 7 ultra-deepwater drillships.

“We are a part of the tender process for the Petrobras domestic tender. The contracts are still being negotiated, it’s still at a very early stage,” Chief Operating Officer Pankaj Khanna said on a conference call.

He said the 15-year contract at a rate of $620,000 per day would be “very profitable,” adding that the company was confident of receiving financing for 85 to 90 percent of the transaction.

“It would be really positive for earnings in the future, especially given that the current rates are at $500,000 per day for a one-year contract,” analyst Salvatore Vital of Sterne, Agee & Leach told Reuters.

Earlier in the year Ocean Rig, which started trading on Nasdaq on October 6, won a $1.1 billion deepwater drilling contract from Brazil’s Petrobras.

Source: Reuters

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Transocean’s Discoverer Americas Gets it Done for Statoil in the Gulf of Mexico

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By Rob Almeida On November 4, 2011

It’s about a two and a half hour helicopter flight from Louisiana to get to this lonely patch of ocean far out in the Gulf of Mexico, but the Geoscientists at Statoil said that’s where the oil would be.  They called the spot Logan and was located at block 969 in Walker Ridge.

Looking at a chart of the Gulf of Mexico, that’s way the heck out there.

For the past 6 months, the Discoverer Americas, a 6th-generation drillship owned by Transocean, has been sitting out there, precisely on station in around 7800 feet of seawater… slowly turning a drill string dangling far beneath the ship.

This rig is one of the newest in Transocean’s fleet, and her dual activity derrick and highly experienced personnel made her certainly one of the most capable.  Built at DSME in Okpo, Korea, her Commissioning Manager, a former US Marine officer and Citadel grad, did an impeccable job in making sure she was ready to go to work as soon as the time came to leave the shipyard back in 2009.

Over the past two years, she covered a lot of ground crossing the Indian Ocean, South Atlantic, and then the Gulf of Mexico before starting on her first well in Mississippi Canyon at a well site called Krakatoa.

It was a heck of a well to start with, and at times her name seemed to be a good fit.  After many months on the ocean, while enduring a frigid winter on the Gulf, and countless drilling challenges, the Deepwater Horizon exploded, bringing Gulf of Mexico drilling operations to a screeching halt.

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Discoverer Americas off Durban, South Africa, Image (c) Robert Almeida

A few months later, Statoil decided it was time to cram as much gear on board as possible and point the Americas’ bow east, and head back across the Atlantic.  Next stop Egypt.

Drilling operations began in a pretty straightforward manner, not many issues.  It was deep water, but a relatively shallow well.  Or so they thought.

Thousands upon thousands of feet down they drilled, but still nothing.  No signs of hydrocarbons, but soon the question of what to do next was once again answered for them.

Egypt erupted in a revolution, ending all possible support from shore.  Cairo-based personnel from Statoil and Transocean left town as fast as they could, and soon thereafter, the Discoverer Americas pulled their riser and followed suit, back across the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

This was her forth major ocean crossing in 3 years, and she had yet to hit paydirt.  Logan had been on the plans ever since she arrived in the Gulf of Mexico a year earlier, and now was the time to earn their paycheck, and hopefully give Statoil the return on investment they were looking for.

This past April, the Logan well was “spud-in” with 36-in casing, officially starting the top section of what would end up being an enormous steel and concrete structure extending miles down below the sea floor of the Gulf of Mexico.  Over the next few months as they drilled through dozens of different sediment layers such as shale, sand, and thousands of feet of salt while carefully shoring up the well from the internal pressures of the earth with strings of steel pipe.

The geologists on board carefully analyzed the drill cuttings entrapped in mud that was returning back to the surface.  They were looking for the dead remnants of ancient organisms deposited long ago.  Finding the right type of organism would be a clue that hydrocarbon-rich sands were close by.

After 6 months of drilling, with their drill string extended nearly 5 miles into the earth, they found what they were looking for.  Their polycrystalline, diamond-studded drill bit had finally cut through a formation that was saturated with oil.  It was the Americas’ and Statoil’s first find in nearly two years of drilling.  Very little public information about how much oil was found and its properties is available however outside of the inner circles at Statoil.

Even Transocean has no idea how much, or exactly what was found, but at the end of the day, none of that matters.

As an offshore drilling contractor, they safely executed an incredibly complex drilling program in waters over a mile and a half deep, allowing their client to gain incredibly detailed and valuable information about the geology present in the Gulf of Mexico.

Next up for the Discoverer Americas is a few month drilling contract for Anadarko at the Heidelberg Prospect in Green Canyon.  Sitting below 5,000 feet of seawater, this well will reach over 30,000 feet below the wave tops to an area that has already proven to hold a significant amount of high quality oil-bearing sands.

Congrats to Transocean and the crew of the Discoverer Americas for a job well done.

Related Posts:

Source – gCaptain - Maritime & Offshore

South Korea: Rowan Companies Inc, Announces Option to Build GustoMSC Drillship

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Rowan Companies Inc, announced today that it has exercised its option to build a third GustoMSC P10000 design ultra-deepwater drillship with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (“HHI”) with delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2014.

The cost for this rig, including commissioning, project management and spares, but excluding capitalized interest is estimated to be approximately $600 million, or slightly below the cost of the first two, similarly equipped drillships ordered by the Company. As in the case of those rigs, the cost of the additional owner furnished equipment plus training and ramp-up costs is estimated to be approximately $50 million, and total costs are anticipated to be paid out of cash flow and available funds. The agreement with HHI also includes an option, exercisable in February of 2012, for an additional drillship of the same specification for delivery in the first half of 2015.

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