Noble Inks Drillship Deals with South Korea, ABS to Class First Vessel

Noble has signed contracts for the construction of the first of a new series of harsh environment, dynamically positioned, ultra-deepwater drillships with South Korea's STX Heavy Industries. ABS has been selected to class the new vessel. Dutch-based design and construction firm Huisman Equipment B.V. will complete the installation and commissioning of the topsides equipment in the Netherlands. The unit is ultimately slated for operation in the Gulf of Mexico. Delivery of the drillship will be late 2011.

ABS will be reviewing the design and providing full classification of the unit once constructed. Globetrotter is an innovative design capable of working in up to 10,000 feet of water in hostile environments around the world.
The drillship will measure 620 feet long and 105 feet wide and will utilize Huisman's multi-purpose tower design with a drilling side and a pipe assembly side. The Globetrotter will be capable of drilling to a vertical depth of 40,000 feet and will feature DP-3 station-keeping ability, 18,000 tons of variable deck load, and quarters for 180 personnel.

The design is more compact than drillships with equal capacities because the design calls for an optimized integration of the drilling equipment into the vessel. The drilling equipment is based on the drilling mast and pipe storage in carousels. A compact box type drilling tower instead of a conventional derrick allows for a smaller sized hull form compared to others of similar capacity.

Huisman says of its design that not only is the derrick unconventional, but the engine room of the vessel is placed forward, underneath the accommodation. This arrangement is common for most other types of offshore construction vessels, but not for drillships. It leaves the entire aft ship free for drilling equipment or tubular storage.

As these specialized units move out to deeper waters the importance of dynamic positioning (DP) is critical for station-keeping. ABS offers various levels or notations for dynamic positioning with DP-3 the most stringent, offering triple redundancy.

Noble has the option for three additional Globetrotter drillships.

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