Asian players land bigger fish

March 1, 2012

The mix of orders for all categories of drillings rigs continues, with Asia Pacific and Middle East shipyards and their overseas affiliates indicating a marked drift away from jackups and towards ever larger semisubmersibles and ultra-deepwater drillships. OE’s Asia Pacific editor John Mueller recaps the latest regional shipyard orders and initiatives. 

Jackups, which remain in demand for drilling in shallower water as well as installing wind turbines, are being eclipsed by demand for deep- and ultra-deepwater capable rigs, exemplified by a record breaking contract placed with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering for an enhanced sixth generation semi coming in at $1.2 billion and another semi order with Keppel Offshore & Marine topping $800 million.

Drillships are also sought after with newbuild bookings anticipated from Petrobras, reported to be looking for around 20 deepwater drilling rigs for operations offshore Brazil, tenders having been launched by the consortium Sete Brasil.

Accommodation semisubmersible are also proving popular with two recently ordered, each capable of catering to 450 personnel.

Shipyard capacity is an enduring focus with Sembcorp Marine constructing a greenfield yard in Brazil and DSME adding a huge drydock.

A welcome shot in the arm for jackups came with last month’s announcement that KOMtech, a Keppel design and engineering arm, and ConocoPhillips are to jointly design what they describe as ‘a first-of-its-kind ice-worthy jackup rig to operate in one of the harshest marine frontiers, the Arctic seas’.

On the renewable energy front, northern Europe’s apparently robust wind turbine demands persuaded Keppel O&M to invest in a wind turbine foundation designer. Drydocks World also booked its first windpower offshore platform order.

Further afield, Singapore’s Sembcorp Marine extended its global reach with a groundbreaking ceremony at Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz, a new wholly-owned, locally incorporated Brazilian shipyard to be developed at an estimated cost of $550 million. 

Situated on an 82.5ha site with 1.6km of coastline in the municipality of Aracruz in the state of Espirito Santo, the yard will be developed over a three-year period and include a 120m x 380m drydock and 1km berthing quay. Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz will undertake construction of drillships, semisubmersible and jackup rigs, platforms, supply vessels, the integration of FPSOs and topside modules fabrication, in addition to repair, modification and upgrade works.

DSME is building the fifth Royal Dock, reputed to be the largest floating dock in the world, at its managed Daehan Shipbuilding yard in the South Korean province of South Jeolla, the project undertaken in response to increasing orders for vessels such as FPSOs and LNG FPSOs that are also becoming larger in scale. The 86m wide, 432m long 130,000dwt dock will be delivered to the DSME yard at Okpo, South Korea at the end of the year and used to construct three LNG carriers.

Keppel Corporation has reinforced its involvement in the offshore wind farm installation market with the entry of subsidiary KV Ventus into a share purchase and shareholders agreement to acquire a 49.9% interest in Norwegian offshore wind turbine foundation designer OWEC Tower for about $11 million. This investment will enable Keppel O&M to further develop its business in the construction of offshore wind turbine foundations as well as installation and support vessels.

Drydocks World has also broken new ground in the wind turbine market with an order from Norwegian energy industry services provider Aibel to construct an offshore platform to receive power generated from offshore wind farms in the German sector of the North Sea.

The 92m long by 73m wide gravity base structure platform with accommodation for 16, to be named DolWin beta, will be built at Drydocks World’s yard in Dubai with delivery set for 4Q 2013.


Keppel Offshore & Marine Technology Centre announced that the ice-class jackup rig it is developing for Arctic application in a joint design project with ConocoPhillips will have dual cantilevers to optimise drilling operations within a limited time window. Equipped with a hull designed for towing in ice, the rig will be designed for self-sustained operation for up to 14 days as well as resisting the impacts from multi-year ice floes and ridges and withstanding a certain level of ice thickness. The design work is expected to be completed by end 2013.

Compañía Perforadora Mexico has engaged Lamprell to complete a Maritime Industrial Services fabricated jackup hull, to be constructed as a Friede & Goldman design Super M2 drilling rig able to operate in 300ft of water and drill to 30,000ft. Lamprell’s Sharjah yard is slated to deliver mid-2012.

Reignwood International Investment Group has taken delivery of the jackup drilling rig Master Driller from Yantai CIMC Raffles Offshore in China. The F&G design 300ft water depth capable and 30,000ft drilling depth rated unit will be deployed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean Offshore Deepwater Holdings has taken delivery of the Pacific Class 400 jackup drilling rig Transocean Honor in Singapore, constructed by PPL Shipyard, a subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine. The Pacific Class 400 is able to drill to 30,000ft in water depths up to 400ft and features offline pipe handling and simultaneous operations support.

Elevating Platforms, a Curacao-based Dutch company, has taken delivery of the wind turbine installation jackup L210, constructed by Drydocks World at its Graha yard on Batam Island, Indonesia at a cost of $24.6 million. The MSC SEA3250 design is 76m long by 40m wide, equipped with a 1000t crane and operable in a 45m water depth with accommodation for 350 personnel.


BP has given Odfjell Drilling a pre-contract award for a newbuild semisubmersible drilling rig valued at approximately $1.2 billion for operations in the UK West of Shetland region, to commence in 4Q 2014. The sixth generation enhanced GVA7500 harsh environment design rig will be built by DSME in South Korea. Construction engineering is underway and keel laying scheduled for 3Q 2013.

Diamond Offshore has contracted Keppel O&M to construct a semisubmersible from an existing hull from a Diamond Offshore cold stacked unit, previously operated as the semisubmersible Ocean Voyager.

The semi, to be named Ocean Onyx, will be completed at the Keppel AmFels yard in Texas by 3Q 2013 at a cost of approximately $150 million. Workscope includes reconstruction and installation of a modern drilling package and sponsons. The rig will be able to operate in water depths of up to 6000ft and be equipped with a five ram blowout preventer and quarters for 140 personnel.

Ensco has taken delivery of the semisubmersible drilling rig ENSCO 8505, the sixth of seven Ensco 8500 series ultra-deepwater semisubmersible drilling rigs for Ensco from KFels in Singapore, to operate in the Gulf of Mexico. ENSCO 8505 is able to operate in 8500ft water depths and features a two million pound capacity quad derrick, offline pipe handling capability, 35,000ft drilling depth capacity and 8000t variable deck load.

Ensco has four additional drilling rigs under construction at KFels: the 8506, the final 8500 series semi with delivery expected in 2012, and three KFels Super A class jackups, to be completed 2013/14. Urca Drilling, a subsidiary of Sete Brasil Participações, has placed an order with Fernvale, a subsidiary of Keppel O&M, for construction of a semisubmersible drilling rig at a cost of $809 million.

Based on the Keppel O&M proprietary DSS 38E design to meet the requirements of deepwater operations in Brazil, the DP3 capable semi will be able to drill to a depth of 3000m below rotary table in a water depth of 10,000m. The rig will be 108m in length with a 73m square main deck and displace about 45,000t. The semi will be delivered from Keppel’s BrasFels yard in Brazil in 4Q 2015.

COSL Drilling Europe has contacted Yantai CIMC Raffles Offshore to construct the deepwater semisubmersible drilling rig COSLProspector at its yard in China. A DP3 unit capable of drilling to 7600m in water depths of 1500m in temperatures of –20°C, it is slated for delivery 3Q 2014.

Saipem is having Keppel Verolme in the Netherlands upgrade and refurbish the Saipem semisubmersible drilling rig Scarabeo 6 this year. Improvements will include addition of sponsons and operational water depth capability increase to 1200m.


Pacific Drilling has received its newest Samsung Heavy Industries constructed drillship, Pacific Santa Ana, able to drill to 40,00ft in 12,000ft water depths and equipped with dual gradient drilling capability.

Deep Sea Metro has taken delivery from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) of the state-of-the-art sixth generation ultradeepwater drillship Deepsea Metro II. The Metrostar Group retains 60% ownership in the rig. Odfjell Drilling holds a 40% stake and is responsible for construction and subsequent follow-up management and operation of the vessel, deployed to Brazil for Petrobras.

Meanwhile, a subsidiary of Norway’s Fred Olsen Energy, has decided not to declare an option for a second drillship from HHI.

Accommodation & support

Prosafe SE has entered into a turnkey contract with Jurong Shipyard for construction of an advanced harsh environment 450 personnel accommodation semisubmersible for operations in the North Sea.

The GVA 3000E design will feature a DP3 system as well as 12-point mooring allowing operations in harsh environments both in dynamically positioned and anchored mode. Delivery is scheduled for 2Q 2014 at a total estimated cost of $350 million.

The contract with Jurong Shipyard also includes options for two further units.

Equinox Offshore Accommodation, established in Singapore to convert ro-ro vessels to DP2 accommodation and repair vessels (ARV), is to have Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore convert a Ropax (roll on/roll off passenger) ship into an ARV for 450 at a cost of $140 million. On completion 4Q 2012, the diesel electric ARV3 will support and service offshore facilities and projects in deepwater areas offshore Brazil for Petrobras.

CNN Capital of Malaysia, sister company to Malaysian marine support services group Saujana Marine, has ordered an accommodation work barge from Nam Cheong, a Kuala Lumpurheadquartered offshore support vessel builder, for about $27 million.

The 100m long barge, under construction at a Nam Cheong subcontracted yard in China, will be able to accommodate 300 personnel and be equipped with a 68t crane for operations in shallow waters in Malaysia.

Neptune Offshore has taken delivery of the Neptune Larissa, an Ulstein SX130 design inspection, maintenance and repair subsea vessel, constructed by China’s Zhejiang Shipbuilding. OE

FPSO financed: Armada TGT, a Bumi Armada subsidiary, is coordinating a $341 million financing package through Sumitomo Mitsui Banking related to the conversion and installation of the FPSO Armada TGT 1. Deployed in the Te Giac Trang Field, offshore Vietnam in block 16-1, it achieved first oil in August 2011. Bumi Armada has over 40 OSV and three FPSO vessels in operation and two more FPSOs under conversion plus a derrick pipe-lay barge. Pictured (left to right) are Rajeev Kannan, GM of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking and Hassan Basma and Rezza Hassan, respectively CE O and CFO of Bumi Armada.


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