2008DC MicrositesNovember/December

D&C News

Ocean Star museum survives Hurricane Ike but needs industry assistance for repairs

The Offshore Energy Center (OEC) has reported that the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum in Galveston, Texas, survived Hurricane Ike’s powerful winds and storm surges in September. A helicopter on a rooftop exhibit was damaged, and there were damaged windows and some flooding – minor compared with what could’ve been, said OEC executive director Sandra Mourton.

However, the museum gift shop that was housed in a portable building on the pier didn’t survive the storm, and the OEC hopes that the industry can offer its assistance in finding a replacement. “Size-wise we’d have to get something similar because of our lease on the pier,” Ms Mourton said. The original building was 20 ft by 34 ft and housed not just souvenirs but also the manager’s office, restroom and storage facilities, and communications wiring for the entire museum, including telephone, computers, etc.

No repair cost estimates were available yet, but Ms Mourton noted that even before Ike, the rig museum was badly in need of general repairs. “About $3 million worth,” she said, explaining that labor is more expensive because the rig is in the water. That means boats have to be brought in, scaffolding must be erected, environmental containment, etc.

As of mid-October, the Ocean Star was still without electricity. Several employees have been displaced from their own damaged homes on the island as well. It is unclear when the museum will reopen. “We’ve seen some very strong storms come through, but this was the strongest,” Ms Mourton said.

For many years, the OEC and Ocean Star have been working to educate the public about the offshore energy industry. The museum provides exhibits, tours and even career fairs, while the OEC provides educational programs and materials such as teacher workshops and mobile school exhibits that help students to explore possible careers in the energy industry.

The Ocean Star also participates in the International Forum of Energy Centres and Museums, an effort initiated by IADC to improve public perception of the drilling industry. (For more on how the industry is working to improve its public image, please see Page 44.) To find out more about how you can help the Ocean Star, please contact the OEC at +1/281-679-8040.

BP announces 16th discovery in Block 31 offshore Angola

Sonangol and BP have announced the Dione oil discovery in ultra-deepwater Block 31, offshore Angola. This is the 16th discovery made by BP in Block 31 and is located in the southern portion of the block, about 9 km southwest of the Juno-1 discovery. Dione was drilled some 390 km northwest of Luanda in a water depth of 1,696 m and reached a total depth of 3,272 m below sea level. Well test results confirmed the capacity of the reservoir to flow in excess of 5,000 bbl/day.

Pride’s Sea Explorer secures 2-year contract

Pride International announced that its second-generation semisubmersible Sea Explorer has been awarded a two-year contract with OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes for work offshore Brazil. The contract is expected to commence in August 2009, following the completion of an existing contract commitment in Congo and mobilization to Brazil. Revenues are expected to be $244 million.

Norwegian Sea well finds ‘promising’ gas

StatoilHydro has concluded the drilling of exploration well 6707/10-2S in the Norwegian Sea. Gas was confirmed in a reservoir with good production qualities. The well was drilled in production licence 218, which is southeast of the Luva gas find. The purpose of the well was to confirm gas in reservoir rocks from the Late Cretaceous age in a prospect called Haklang. The size of the discovery is estimated to be between 8 billion and 14 billion standard cu m of recoverable gas. The well was drilled to a depth of 3,356 m below sea level and was completed in the Nise formation in Late Cretaceous rock. The water depth is 1,248 m.

New Noble drillship set for delivery in 2011

Noble Corp has announced the construction of a new dynamically positioned, ultra-deepwater, harsh-environment Globetrotter-class drillship with South Korea’s STX Heavy Industries Co and Dutch-based design and construction firm Huisman Equipment.

The drillship will be built on a fixed-price basis in two phases. Following construction of the hull and installation of the propulsion system by STX at its Dalian, China, facility, the to-be-named drillship will sail under its own power to The Netherlands, where Huisman will complete the installation and commissioning of the topside equipment.

The delivered cost of the drillship is estimated to be $585 million, with delivery scheduled for the second half of 2011. Noble also has secured priced options for three additional Globetrotter drillships.

The drillship will be capable of drilling to a vertical depth of 40,000 ft and will feature DP-3 station-keeping ability, 18,000 tons of variable deck load, and quarters for 180 personnel. “This project is confirmation of our view of the continuing strength of the current cycle. Deepwater dynamics remain robust, and we see unsatisfied demand for ultra-deepwater rigs extending out into 2012,” said Noble chairman, president and CEO David W Williams.

Aban Abraham drillship upgraded, completes seatrials and set to drill offshore Ghana

The Aban Abraham drillship has completed seatrials after undergoing major upgrades at Singapore’s Sembawang Shipyard and is expected to begin drilling offshore Ghana during Q4 2008. The Pelican-class vessel, owned by Aban Offshore, can drill in water depths up to 6,600 ft.

Upgrades included widening of the beam by adding sponsons to compensate for additional weight and to provide sufficient buoyancy. Capacities for riser tensioning, riser storage, riser handling and mud storage have subsequently increased.

Vanco Ghana and partner Lukoil Overseas Ghana have already completed contractual arrangements for the Aban Abraham to drill the Dzata-1 well, which will be the first exploration test on the Cape Three Points deepwater block, offshore Ghana. Cape Three Points Deep Water Ghana block encompasses 1.25 million acres in water depths ranging from 200 m to 3,000 m in the Tano Basin. “Vanco and Lukoil have been working for more than a year to secure the Aban Abraham drilling slot to drill this exciting prospect,” said Vanco president Gene Van Dyke.

Latshaw Drilling’s Rig #15 begins work in East Texas

Latshaw Drilling’s 2,000-hp Rig #15 (above) recently began work in East Texas on a three-year contract. It is the 12th new rig the company has put out in the last two years, with a total of 13 in service in East and West Texas, the Barnett Shale and Oklahoma. Latshaw Drilling also is building six new rigs, all with 500-ton AC top drives and skidding capabilities for multi-well pad drilling. These are already contracted for three years to work in East Texas/north Louisiana and southeast Oklahoma. Latshaw Drilling assembles and rigs up all of its own rigs in its Tulsa, Okla., yard, the company said.

KCA DEUTAG to support operations on tender assist

KCA deutag HAS been awarded a US$30 million contract by Global Tender Barges to support a drilling contract from Petronas Carigali for the operation and management of the Alligator tender assist rig. The four-year contract with a one-year extension is scheduled to begin in Q3 2009, following the refurbishment of the rig on completion of its contract with Chevron in Angola at the end of 2008.

“We see the management of mobile offshore drilling units, such as tender assist rigs, as a significant growth opportunity,” said Holger Temmen, KCA DEUTAG CEO.

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