October 27, 2003

Maersk takes delivery of Caspian deepwater semi

Maersk Contractors has taken delivery of a highly efficient deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig in Azerbaijan--the first drilling rig in the Caspian Sea for Maersk Contractors.

The rig was named LIDER at a ceremony in Baku on July 24, 2003.

The new rig is based on the DSS-20-CAS-M design, which has been developed jointly by Marine Structure Consultants of Holland and KeppelFELS of Singapore.

Construction of the rig was undertaken by KeppelFELS and the Caspian Shipyard Company.

The pontoons, the four columns and the substructure sections were constructed in Singapore by KeppelFELS and shipped across the Indian Ocean to Baku via the Don and Volga canal and river system in April/May 2002.

The Caspian Shipyard Company completed the rig in Baku, where the components were put together and the accommodation facilities added.

The LIDER is the largest and most powerful drilling rig in the Caspian Sea capable of drilling in water depths from 75 to 1,000 m, which enables the rig to operate in approximately 40% of the Caspian Sea.

The first assignment for the LIDER is a three-year drilling contract with possible extension, with Exxon Azerbaijan Operating Company LLC and Chevron Overseas Petroleum Azerbaijan Limited, partnered with SOCAR Oil Affiliate, ConocoPhillips (U.K.) Limited and Total Exploration and Production Azerbaijan.


The new semi-submersible is designed for maximum up time, despite the environmental sensitivities of the region in which it will be operating. That means avoiding harmful emissions as much as possible. Only cooling water will be dumped over the side of the rig once it becomes operational. Even rainwater will be contained in tanks for cleaning before it is discharged.

The rig is outfitted with automated pipe feed and stabbing as well as pipe-handling functions, so crew on the drill floor will not be required. Since the rig will be operating in a remote area manual controls have been added to override functions. The rig also has vertical riser storage. The centrifuge system is the most modern in the world.


Of particular interest in the design is the mooring spread. The rig has an eight-point wire rope mooring capable of self-contained operation in up to 1,640 ft (500 m) of water. But the unit will be able to anchor beyond that depth with pre-set systems up to 3,280 ft (1,000 m).

The rig is rated to drill to 30,000 ft in just over 3,000 ft of water, which is equivalent to the deepest areas in the Caspian Sea. The variable deckload capacity is 4,000 tons, and the derrick, the crown-mounted compensator and the traveling block are each rated at 2,000,000 lb. The drawworks are powered by 4,000 hp and the riser tensioner capacity is rated at 2,000,000 lb. The rig will also be equipped with three 7,500 psi working pressure mud pumps and an active reserve mud system of 600 m3.

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