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First of three Awilco biggies launched

First of three Awilco biggies launched
Yantai Raffles has successfully loaded out the first of three semi-submersible drilling rigs under construction for Awilco Offshore.

Yantai Raffles has successfully loaded out the first of three semi-submersible drilling rigs under construction for Awilco Offshore.

Its deck-box construction is apparently progressing as scheduled and the two sections should be mated before the end of this year.

The Chinese yard said the lower hull of the WilPioneer was loaded out on to a floating barge by means of an unprecedented combination of a gripper jack system with the shipyard’s existing roller skidding method. Having demonstrated the value of its approach, Yantai Raffles says it will use it again.

The WilPioneer is a GM4000 class unit and will be kitted out for year-round operation in harsh environments.

Meanwhile, Seadrill has taken delivery of its new-build semi, West Hercules, at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering yard in South Korea.

The rig, which has been contracted by Husky Oil China for three years’ drilling operations offshore China, is currently being readied for work and should start drilling within the month. The estimated Husky contract value is $580million, including mobilisation fee, which equates to about $530,000 per day.

The West Hercules is a sixth-generation, high-specification, deepwater rig with a 3,000m (10,000ft) water-depth capability and ranks among the largest drilling units in the Seadrill fleet.

It offers a high load-carrying capacity and an efficient drilling-floor lay-out with improved safety and working environment measures. It can also run parallel drilling operations.

This is the fourth deepwater drilling unit to be completed for Seadrill this year.

On the jack-up front, Keppel FELS has delivered the jack-up drilling rig, Deep Driller 6, to Aban Offshore subsidiary Sinvest on time and within budget.

The Singapore yard says the rig is the fourth unit to be delivered in a series of five KFELS Super B Class rigs ordered by Sinvest. The fifth rig, Deep Driller 8, is reported to be on track for a timely delivery in Q1 2009.

The KFELS Super B Class design is one of the world’s deepest capability rigs, with systems to enable drilling of high-pressure, high-temperature wells to depths of 10,668m (35,000ft) in water depths to 106m (350ft).

Back to Awilco. The company’s latest jack-up, WilSeeker, has been launched at Singapore’s PPL Shipyard. Once delivered, and following a short period of training for its crew, the rig will be towed to China’s Bohai Bay to commence a two-year contract in conjunction with the WilBoss and WilSuperior.

Turning to drillships, the main news is that Ulstein Sea of Solutions has reported that the revamped Aban Abraham has completed its sea trials after a major upgrade at the Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore.

Ulstein was responsible for the concept and basic design of the upgrade, which is intended to enable the Pelican-class vessel to operate in water depths to 2,012m (6,600ft). This was achieved by adding sponsons on both sides of the ship to compensate for additional weight and provide sufficient buoyancy. A total of 3,500 tons of displacement was gained by using this approach.

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