Deepwater Nautilus Heads Back to Location

Repairs to the Deepwater Nautilus, which sustained damages from Hurricane Ivan, have been completed and the ultra-deepwater semisubmersible has also undergone upgrades and an underwater inspection and survey.

The repaired equipment included the mooring system, a communications unit and electrical paneling in the engine room, all of which were damaged by Hurricane Ivan last month. The storm generated 120-mile-per-hour winds and powerful waves in the Gulf of Mexico, including one record-setting 53-foot "rogue" wave. The storm pushed the Deepwater Nautilus off location by 73 miles to the northeast where it was found on September 16 by a search plane.

The Deepwater Nautilus was unmanned well in advance of Hurricane Ivan, but judging by the storm track, the rig saw the worst winds and seas generated by the storm.

The rig currently is expected to be back on location Saturday at the world water depth record for a moored rig of 8,951 feet of water in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to conduct exploration drilling for Shell.

The upgraded areas include the drawworks, (PRS) pipe-racking system and LMRP (lower marine riser package) of the blowout preventer. The LMRP was re-tubed to upgrade it and upgraded rigid conduit line was built and tested. Also completed were a pin-to-bottom drawworks upgrade, numerous PRS upgrades, including cutting windows in the frame, new drive shaft couplings to eliminate spine damage, and new cartridge-type upper bearings. New PRS wiring loops were also installed.