KCA & National Launch New Rig for Benguela Belize Field

KCA DEUTAG and National Oilwell have unveiled the impressive new 4,600hp fully mechanized integrated Full Platform Rig (FPR) they have been building for ChevronTexaco, at the National Oilwell Galena Park facility, Houston, Texas, USA.

The contract to design, engineer, procure, construct, commission (EPC) and then operate the rig for CABGOC's Benguela Belize field development was awarded to KCA DEUTAG, with contracting partner National Oilwell for the EPC portion, in February 2003 by Cabinda Gulf Oil Company Limited,(CABGOC) a ChevronTexaco subsidiary operating offshore Angola. The rig will be located on top of a compliant tower in 1,280ft of water and will be the first such structure installed outside the Gulf of Mexico.

Houston-based John Nichols, KCA DEUTAG Inc VP said, "We are delighted to be celebrating the completion of the first stage of this complex and innovative rig project, on schedule, on budget and with over 750,000 accumulated hours injury free. The rig fabrication has been an outstanding success, due to the combined commitment, leadership and effort of all those involved in the project, and safety has been a key priority".

"The successful delivery of this lump sum project has been due to the early selection of our contracting partner and the subsequent pre-engineering investment made prior to bid, to develop a comprehensive definition of the scope of work, and make proposals for innovative, cost effective solutions. Post contract award, this sound foundation has been built on through the management expertise of our joint project team with National Oilwell," commented Ian Lane, KCA DEUTAG Director, Africa, Asia Pacific and Engineering Services.

Kevin Neveu, National Oilwell's Rig Solutions President, stated: "From our perspective, the successful execution of this project was driven by two factors; the pre-bid formation of the KCA DEUTAG - National Oilwell – contractor partnership and the outstanding approach on HSE activities required by ChevronTexaco. The contractor partnership ensured that KCA DEUTAG and National Oilwell settled on the design and construction philosophy at the bid stage. The pre-bid start led to a seamless transition after contract award through the detailed design, manufacturing, construction and commissioning processes. Concurrently, ChevronTexaco implemented the "Injury and Incident Free - IIF" HSE program. The aim of "IIF" is to ensure that HSE issues are the prevailing priority for all parties. When the safety and welfare of our employees is the principle concern, above budget, schedule and design, the result is a safe and highly motivated workforce executing the project with no injuries, no incidents, delivered on schedule, on budget and exceeding our customers performance expectations. I am excited about the potential to repeat this experience on future projects."

The KCA DEUTAG engineering team was co-located with National Oilwell. First steel was cut in September 2003, and the primary steelwork fabrication was carried out by Omega Natchiq in New Iberia, LA. The structures were then transferred to the Galena Park yard on the Houston ship channel in May 2004, for the installation of the derrick and all the primary drilling equipment. National Oilwell supplied the complete package of drilling equipment from their product divisions in Stavanger, Edmonton and Houston. The complete rig was assembled in the Galena Park yard and commissioned by National OiIwell with the assistance of the senior offshore staff from KCA DEUTAG.

Following onshore commissioning, acceptance and then preservation for shipment to Angola the rig will sail away in late February. The rig will then be installed on the compliant tower offshore Angola and integrated with the topsides production facilities. Operations are expected to commence late in July or early August 2005.

Transport and installation of the rig on the compliant tower is the responsibility of topsides contractor, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, with Heerema subcontracted for this part of the work. KCA DEUTAG will be responsible for hook-up and commissioning of the drilling package in Angola.

The new drilling unit is capable of drilling to 30,000ft and utilizes AC variable frequency drives. Mechanized pipehandling systems are installed in the 1.3 million lbs hookload derrick which is equipped with 4,600hp drawworks and a top drive with 60,000ft lbs torque. The rig is fitted with three 2,200hp mud pumps rated to 7,500psi with a total mud volume of 4,625 barrels.

The Benguela Belize FPR project is being managed out of KCA DEUTAG's Houston office, which was opened in 2001 with the specific aim of focusing the company's extensive engineering, project management and drilling expertise on winning key integrated projects.

KCA DEUTAG has instigated a recruitment and training program in Angola ahead of the five-year drilling operations, which are due to commence mid-2005.