Refurbished Jack-Up Rig Starts Work in U.S. Gulf of Mexico

Credit: Arena
Credit: Arena

Gulf of Mexico-focused oil and gas exploration firm Arena Energy and drilling contractor White Fleet Drilling recently christened and mobilized a refurbished jack-up drilling rig in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. 

White Fleet, Arena's strategic partner created in 2017 as a jack-up rig services provider and Arena's preferred drilling contractor, acquired the out-of-service rig in 2022 and subsequently moved the rig to Gulf Copper's shipyard in Galveston, Texas, last July.

Enterprise Offshore Drilling provided project management services for an extensive refurbishment of the rig to bring it up to operational standards, including the installation of "state-of-the-art equipment, improved safety features, and a complete overhaul of the rig's mechanical systems." These upgrades will allow the rig to operate more efficiently, reducing downtime and improving overall safety, Arena Energy said.

According to Arena, the White Fleet Drilling (WFD) 400 jack-up rig will support drilling and development activities for Arena and plugging and abandonment operations for third-party operators in the Gulf for the next 15 to 20 years.

"In addition to supporting continued development of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico—the least carbon-intensive production in the world—the rig will provide approximately one hundred full time jobs for oilfield service workers primarily located in rural areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, providing economic growth to those communities," Arena added.

How many active jack-up rigs are there in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico?


Mike Minarovic, Co-Founder and CEO of Arena Energy, LLC, stated, "This is important not only for Arena and White Fleet, but also for the rest of the industry. Just 10 years ago, there were thirty-six active jack-up drilling rigs in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. With the addition of the WFD 400, there are now six active jack-up rigs in the Gulf, and the WFD 400 fills a void for jack- up rigs capable of working in four hundred feet of water. Partnering with White Fleet to invest significant capital in refurbishing the WFD 400 rig is further testament to Arena and White Fleet's long-term commitment to safe and sustainable operations on the Gulf of Mexico Shelf, and the rig represents hundreds of good-paying jobs for workers in rural communities all along the Gulf Coast."

Kalil Ackal, CEO of White Fleet Drilling, added, "The acquisition and refurbishment of the WFD 400 rig is a significant accomplishment for White Fleet Drilling and our partners. This rig increases the availability of jack-up rigs in the Gulf and will provide our customers with the flexibility and capacity they need."

The WFD 400 jack-up rig is already under contract and on location performing plugging and abandonment work for a third-party operator in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

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