Deepwater Nautilus Team Sets Another World Record

For the third time in just over three years, the Deepwater Nautilus team has set yet another world water-depth record for a moored offshore drilling rig while working for Shell. The new record is 8,717 feet of water in Alaminos Canyon block 857 of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, set by the Deepwater Nautilus, Shell and Delmar anchor-handling company on September 25, 2003. The two previous world records -- both by the Deepwater Nautilus team in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico -- were 8,009 feet of water in March 2002 at Alaminos Canyon block 857 and 7,790 feet of water in June 2001 in Alaminos Canyon block 557.

Teamwork, planning and communications have been outstanding, paving the way for the achievement of the new world record and helping the Deepwater Nautilus team achieve zero incidents of any kind so far during operations. Transocean extends congratulations to Shell, Delmar and all the third-party companies involved and looks forward to completing our record-breaking assignment with zero incidents and efficient operations.

When constructed in 2000, the Deepwater Nautilus was capable of working in water depths of 5,000 feet with self-contained mooring, and the rig has since used a preset mooring system to achieve the world records in greater than 8,000 feet of water. The preset mooring system utilizes eight suction piles with polyester mooring lines, which are deployed by an anchor-handling vessel in advance of the rig’s arrival to a location. These lines are connected to each of the rig’s mooring wires to form a taut mooring system.

On the new world record, the Deepwater Nautilus moored the first four legs of the preset mooring system in 24 hours. Crews were then able to start jetting in the 36-inch casing, and the rest of the mooring system was run offline. Compared with traditional catenary mooring systems, the preset system provides a greatly reduced mooring pattern size while achieving higher holding power with far less rig-mooring time and excellent positioning around pipelines and seafloor obstructions.

The Deepwater Nautilus is one of 13 fifth-generation deepwater drilling rigs operated by Transocean. The rig features advanced deepwater drilling equipment, including a parallel casing-handling system that reduces top-hole time.