Ultra-Deepwater Development Driller III to Set Sail Soon for GOM Ops

Keppel FELS Limited (Keppel FELS) has completed Transocean's Development Driller III, an ultra-deepwater drilling rig built to Keppel’s proprietary DSSTM 51 semisubmersible (semi) design.

The Development Driller III is designed to construct wells as deep as 11,430 meters (37,500 feet) wells and operate in water depths of up to 2,286 meters (7,500ft), upgradable to 12,192 meters (40,000 feet) and 3,048 meters (10,000 feet), respectively.

Keppel O&M is the only shipyard group in the world with in-house deepwater semi design capabilities. Its DSSTM Series of semis are the most technically advanced deepwater drilling rigs to be designed and completed by Singapore to date.

Designed by Keppel's Deepwater Technology Group in collaboration with Marine Structures Consultants of the Netherlands, units in the DSSTM Series boast several cost-efficient and distinctive safety features for rig operators.

DSSTM Series of rigs have a total payload of 13,500 tons. This heavy duty payload reduces the need and costs of transporting supplies to and from the rig considerably, and is especially valuable when operating in remote environments.

Rigs in the Series also have distinct 'double-skin' columns, which protect the critical equipment within from damage by external impact. This greatly reduces rig downtime in the case of hurricanes or strong climatic pressures out at sea. The layout of the engine rooms has also been designed to minimize the potential of both being shut-down at the same time in an emergency.

Furthermore, being able to operate at water depths of 3,000 meters and drilling depths of 10,000 meters below the mudline makes the DSSTM Series well-suited to operate in offshore Brazil, West Africa, Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Asia. The DSSTM Series also features reduced emissions and discharges, offering an environmentally friendly solution for the global offshore industry.

Mr. Robert L. Long, CEO of Transocean, said, "Through our collaborative effort with Keppel FELS, Development Driller III will soon be ready for deployment by our customer BP in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. We are looking forward to provide BP with the safest and most effective offshore drilling possible."

Development Driller III was named in the presence of Guest-of-Honour, Mr. Peter Ong, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, by Mrs. Lyn Thierens, spouse of Mr. Harry Thierens, Gulf of Mexico Drilling & Completions Wells Director, BP.

Mr. Tong Chong Heong, CEO of Keppel O&M said, "In maintaining our technology leadership in the industry, Keppel is able to provide value-added solutions for our established customers such as Transocean.

"We have the flexibility and control in adapting our own designs to address technological changes in terms of drilling processes and drilling equipment, among others. This flexibility allows us to serve our clients better, and to create a solution that is best suited to their operating requirements."

On Development Driller III, for instance, Keppel FELS had worked closely with Transocean to integrate Transocean's proprietary dual-activity drilling technology into the DSSTM 51 design. The result is a rig capable of safe and highly efficient drilling operations in any deepwater venue.

"All of Keppel's rig designs have been developed with input from our customers because our technology innovation must ultimately create value for them. I am confident that Development Driller III will exceed expectations and support Transocean's objective of creating a quality offshore fleet for the oil and gas market," Mr. Tong said.

Keppel FELS and Transocean have shared a long-standing partnership spanning several significant projects. These include the construction of Trident 20, the first international class jackup rig to be built in the Caspian Sea, upgrades and conversions of the Sedco 700-series semis to enable dynamic positioning, and the repair of various Transocean rigs.

Including Development Driller III, Keppel FELS has completed three of eight DSSTM Series semis ordered, since the design's premiere in 2001.

"Whilst strengthening our business fundamentals through excellent project execution, robust risk management and governance, we will continue to place emphasis on pro-active technology development.

"We believe that the rudiments of the industry remain intact despite the economic slow down. Our sustained investments in technology will enable us to address the changing needs of the industry and place us in pole position to capture opportunities when the market improves," Mr. Tong said.


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