Premium jackup fleet experiences modest growth

The worldwide premium jackup fleet, which includes jackups rated for 350 ft (106 m) of water and greater, grew modestly since July 2009 when Offshore's last survey was taken. The 2011 edition shows 13 additional premium jackups delivered over the past two years.

Pennwell web 400 327

Jerry Greenburg
Special Correspondent

The worldwide premium jackup fleet, which includes jackups rated for 350 ft (106 m) of water and greater, grew modestly since July 2009 whenOffshore's last survey was taken. The 2011 edition shows 13 additional premium jackups delivered over the past two years. Looking forward, however, the 2013 survey edition is expected to grow significantly as about 50 of the 75 jackups under construction are rated for 350 ft water depths and greater. Most of them are scheduled for delivery in 2012 and 2013. These figures are likely to grow as offshore drilling contractors continue to order more and larger jackups, which generally take about two years to construct.

Rowan Co.s accounted for nearly half of the new jackups listed in the 2011 survey with six new units in its fleet. These include the RowanEXL I, EXL II, and EXL III, all LeTourneau Super 116-E class rigs rated for 350 ft of water, and the Rowan Stavanger, Viking, and Norway, KFELS N class jackups capable of drilling in up to 400 ft (122 m) of water. The Rowan Norway is the contractor's newest, delivered in June 2011.

Pennwell web 400 327
(Above) Rowan Companies' EXL II, a LeTourneau Super 116E design, was delivered in 2010. The rig is rated to drill in 350 ft of water. (Below) Rowan's latest rig deliveries are its KFELS-N class units delivered in 2010 and 2011. These rigs are rated to drill in up to 400 ft of water. This is the KFELS-N class rig Rowan Viking being dry towed to location. The company has two additional jackups under construction, the Joe Douglas, a LeTourenau 240-C class unit rated for 400 ft of water, and a LeTourneau Super 116E for up to 350 ft of water.
Pennwell web 400 263

Rowan still has two jackups under construction, theJoe Douglas, rated for 400 ft of water and set for delivery in September 2011, and the Rowan EXL IV, a 350 ft unit scheduled for delivery in November 2011.

It is uncertain how many additional jackups the contractor might build, with the recent sale of its LeTourneau Technologies subsidiary and the company's order for two deepwater drillships.

Seadrill took delivery of theWest Callisto, a KFELS B class jackup in 2010. This year the contractor took delivery of the West Elara, a Gusto MSC design CJ70-X150A jackup capable of working in up to about 500 ft (152 m) of water and which is capable of simultaneous drilling and production operations.

Egyptian Drilling also added a jackup to its fleet since 2009, theSetty, a sister rig to its Sneferu, both Baker Marine BMC 375 designs rated for 375 ft (114 m) of water. Egyptian Offshore Drilling, not to be confused with Egyptian Drilling, added two rigs to its fleet, the company's first two jackups. The El Qaher I and II are BMC 375 designs rated for 375 ft waters.

Greatship Global Energy increased its premium jackup fleet by one since 2009 with the addition of theGreatDrill Chetna, a KFELS B class rig. This rig is virtually identical to its GreatDrill Chiltra unit that was delivered in 2009. The company also has under construction a LeTourneau Super 116E class jackup with delivery scheduled for December 2012.

Perforadora Central took delivery of itsTuxpan jackup in 2010, a LeTourneau Super 116E class rig. The rig is capable of drilling in up to 375 ft of water.

PV Drilling, a subsidiary of PetroVietnam, took delivery of two jackups during 2009, both KFELS B class rigs rated for operations in up to 400 ft of water.

New construction

It is rare these days to find a drilling contractor ordering a new rig rated for less than 350 ft of water. A key reason is the new ISO worldwide criteria being developed for foundation site assessment, as well as new site assessment guidelines and criteria from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) for jackups operating in the US Gulf of Mexico. This particularly applies to jackups operating during the six-month Gulf hurricane season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

The stricter guidelines and criteria resulted in jackups that were properly sited following site assessments and sufficient pre-load testing of the seabed foundations to the maximum spud can reactions to the loads. The new generations of jackups are more robust and more able to meet the environmental and operational criteria required to drill in more hostile situations, including during hurricane season in the mild environment GoM.

Noble Corp. ordered four 400 ft Friede & Goldman JU3000N jackups in Singapore earlier this year. Maersk Drilling has two Gusto MSC CJ70-X150MD design rigs under construction at Keppel FELS in Singapore for delivery in 2013 and 2014. These rigs are rated to drill in up to 500 ft of water in harsh environments such as the North Sea, their target market.

Other offshore drilling contractors building large jackups include Atwood Oceanics with three PPL Pacific Class rigs rated for 400 ft of water, theMako, Manta, and Orca; Ensco with two 400-ft rated jackups under construction; and Transocean, which ordered a Pacific Class rig at PPL as well as two KFELS B class rigs.

Additional information can be found in thePremium jackup drilling rigs poster contained within this issue of Offshore.

More Offshore Issue Articles
Offshore Articles Archives
View Oil and Gas Articles on PennEnergy.com
More in Drilling & Completion