Pride Selects Vetco Gray's Advanced Marine Riser for Drill Ship

Pride International, one of the world's largest offshore drilling contractors, has selected the latest version of the MR-6 marine riser system from VetcoGray, a GE Oil & Gas business, for use on a new deepwater drill ship that will be completed in 2010.

VetcoGray will supply two MR-6H SE Marine Riser Systems, which offer improved safety and efficiency for the offshore drilling industry. The system combines innovative design with the field-proven technology of the previous MR-6 dog style marine riser systems and the H-4 subsea wellhead connector locking mechanism. The VetcoGray riser is designed to operate in water depths of 12,000 feet.

The MR-6H SE system, which received a Spotlight on New Technology Award at the 2007 Offshore Technology Conference, provides fully automated connection capabilities, as hydraulic units on the spider engage a cam ring on the box to actuate six dogs into the profile of the pin. This creates a full pre-loaded connection with an efficient and effective load path.

The fully automated capabilities of the MR-6H SE can eliminate the need to place people in a potentially hazardous situation. The pin is lowered into the box and guided into place with an internal guide pin; then the spider automatically makes the connection.

The MR-6H SE connection can be made or broken in less than a minute, and the string can be made up in about half the time of a conventional flanged riser system -- key features that can mean substantial cost savings for the ship owner and the operator.

"The safety and time-saving features of our new marine riser technology are particularly important today with the industry trend toward drilling in deeper and deeper water," said Dave Tucker, Chief Operating Officer of VetcoGray. "With drilling rig rates at an all-time high, greater drilling speed and efficiency can significantly reduce costs."

The two MR-6H SE systems will be manufactured at the GE Oil & Gas VetcoGray facilities in Houston, and will be shipped in the fourth quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2010.