CIMC Raffles Completes Assembly of North Dragon Semisub at Yantai Yard

China's Yantai CIMC Raffles Offshore Ltd. announced that the North Dragon (mid-water semisub) built by the company for North Sea Rigs AS successfully assembled in Yantai Shipyard Monday. It is the first semisubmersible drilling rig having the capability of operating in the Arctic area that is built in China.

North Dragon is designed to operate in water depths of 1,640 feet (500 meters), up to 3,937 feet (1,200 meters) and drill to depths of 26,246 feet (8,000 meters). It is equipped with Rolls & Royce power system, Kongsberg DP3 dynamic positioning system, Siemens electronic control system and NOV drilling system. Drilling section applies offline stand building system, which can connect three drill-pipes or risers together while drilling works are going on, and adopts horizontal automatic Hydraracker design, promoting the drilling efficiency by 15 percent.

Based on GM4-D design, CIMC Raffles completes the basic design together with Global Maritime, having 80 percent intellectual property rights. Focused on operations in Norwegian North Sea and Barents Sea, North Dragon can resist raging tempest in North Sea. Concurrently, the construction is built based on experience of four delivered GM series North Sea semisubmersibles constructed by CIMC Raffles and the operating performance of three semisubmersible units that have been continuously working in Norwegian North Sea since 2011. Through improving operation draft and increasing static air gap of unit, heave motion response amplitude of unit has been reduced; the unit motion performance has been obviously improved and greatly increased uptime of operation. It is China's initial design for ice-class deepwater units, realizing operation in minus 25 degree Centigrafe harsh environment. All the external category I safety equipment, include escape walkway, ladder and lifeboat etc. are installated anti-icing or shelter. Above main deck all ESD1 is not off the open-air fan for explosion-proof type, drilling large area installation wind wall. The owner, Stephen Adshead states “The North Dragon reflects nearly 10 years of working on the design of harsh environment semisubmersibles that target the North Sea and incorporates the lessons learned from one project to the next. The rig is the latest generation in a long list of rigs which CIMC Raffles has built successfully. Oil companies working in the North Sea will continue to develop fields and look at maximizing what can be extracted. The rig is designed to be capable of many tasks and perform complex work operations. This makes them attractive to Oil Companies and other operators.”

Comprehension of the basic design improves construction standards. In the basic design phase of North Dragon, CIMC Raffles has already considered construction facilities and characteristics, optimizing division of bulkheads, utilization of curved plates, special welding areas, continuation philosophy of blocks, enhancing construction quality. On the basis of bulk delivery of semisubmersibles, the project planning management of North Dragon has been refined. Real-time monitoring, forecasting and revising can be realized by software system. Strictly complied with Norsok standards, North Dragon is highly praised by DNV after on-site NDT inspection. “General NDT department had made of good control of project North Dragon, all NDT operators and NDTsub-contractors who invovled the project had done a very good job!”

The Arctic Zone owns rich oil and gas resources. According to United States Geological Survey, 13 percent oil and 30 percent gas are not deployed. Furthermore, the Barents Sea is the extension of Norwegian North Sea to the Arctic Circle, which is considered as the concentration of arctic oil and gas exploitation. After the assemblage, North Dragon is planned to be delivered in December. Beacon Atlantic (mid-water semisub), the second GM4-D rig of the same series, is currently under construction in December 2016, while Beacon Pacific, the third rig, will be delivered in December 2017. All these three rigs can operate in Barents Sea.


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