Keppel FELS Delivers Maersk Semi to Caspian Shipyard

Keppel FELS Limited has fabricated and delivered the sophisticated structures of the Maersk DSS-20-CAS-M semisubmersible to its subsidiary, Caspian Shipyard Company Ltd in Baku, Azerbaijan two weeks ahead of schedule.

CSC, which has already completed about 50 percent of the overall work, is now entering into the next phase of the construction to join the lower hull sections together and fully consolidate the upper hull on to it.

When completed in the third quarter of 2003, the Maersk rig will become the first semisubmersible to be built in the Caspian Sea and will also be technologically, the most advanced unit operating in the region.

Jointly designed by Keppel FELS and Marine Structure Consultants, the rig is a cost-effective drilling unit that can operate in water depths up to 1,000 meters and drill up to 9,140 meters.

The rig will be contracted to Exxon Azerbaijan Operating Company LLC and Chevron Overseas Petroleum Azerbaijan Limited for a three-year drilling program.

Keppel FELS and CSC won the US167 million contract in February 2001 from Maersk Contractors shortly after its successful completion of the jack-up rig, Gurtulush (Trident 20). This testifies to the success of Keppel's near market, near customer strategy.

Structures, comprising two pontoons, four columns and the drill floor substructure, were fabricated in Keppel FELS. Leaving Singapore for Baku in April 2002, the structures underwent a 45-day voyage spanning 7,300 nautical miles.

The pontoons and the barges carrying the fabricated structures had to pass through a total of 19 locks along the Don and Volga rivers and in some places, the passage between the two banks was only around 17 meters wide and 3 meters deep.

Keppel FELS' pool of vast expertise and rich experience enabled it to carefully plan and execute the operations and mitigate the numerous challenges faced and the structures arrived in the Caspian Sea two weeks ahead of schedule.

Said Mr. Tong Chong Heong, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Keppel Offshore & Marine, "The close working relationship and the shared facilities of our yards in Singapore and Baku, have enabled the rig to be built with good progress. This performance indeed demonstrates the excellent project management skills and the expertise that is typical of Keppel FELS."

"The transhipment of huge and heavy structures across the locks is very difficult but our earlier experience with the Gurtulush, Caspian Sea's first western class jackup rig stands us in good stead. "

"These joint projects have also facilitated the transfer of Keppel FELS' new-building expertise to our yard in Baku."

Gurtulush was the first international standard, western class jack-up rig to be built in the Caspian Sea and was delivered to Transocean two months ahead of schedule.

CSC is the first international shipyard in the Caspian Sea region servicing the offshore oil and gas industry.