Keppel Offshore & Marine and ConocoPhillips have teamed up to design a jack-up drilling rig capable of working in the harsh, ice-bound marine environment of the Arctic Seas.
They are to develop a rig that will have dual cantilevers to optimise drilling operations within a limited time window, a necessity given anticipated weather and marine conditions.
The rig will be capable of operating in a self-sustained manner for 14 days and be based on a hull designed for towing in ice.
It is to be able to resist the impacts from multi-year ice floes and ridges as well as withstand a certain level of ice thickness. This will necessitate the use of special high-grade, ultra-tough steels capable of withstanding Arctic temperatures.
This joint design project is expected to be completed by year end 2013.
Dr. Foo Kok Seng, director at KOMtech, said of the project: “The features of this jack-up make it ideal for the Arctic offshore. In leveraging the combined expertise, resources, and research findings of Keppel O&M and ConocoPhillips, we believe that this joint project will achieve significant breakthroughs in offshore Arctic drilling.”
Only one other Arctic-capable jack-up rig has been built and that is Gazprom’s Arkticheskaya, which is currently completing and expected to be delivered in June for work in Russia’s Pechora Sea.
Keppel O&M has an established track record in designing and building rigs for harsh environments.
It has delivered three KFELS N Class rigs for work in the North Sea, and these jack-ups are able to operate in harsh weather conditions in water depths ranging 122-152m (400-500ft), which are 40% deeper than traditional units in benign waters.
In 2008, Keppel O&M subsidiary Keppel Singmarine broke into the Arctic market, by successfully delivering the first pair of icebreakers built in the tropics of Asia to Lukoil-Kaliningradmorneft.