Opus Offshore introduces new midwater Tiger rig series to Asia/Pacific

Opus Offshore is a newly established offshore drilling services provider that has committed to use newbuild and fit-for-purpose vessels, specifically the Tiger drillships, with the aspiration to be a full-fledged drilling contractor that both owns and operates assets. Recently, Offshore met with Graham Buchan, business development manager, to discuss the company's vision, goals, and strategic plan.

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Robin Dupre
Sr. Technology Editor

Opus Offshore is a newly established offshore drilling services provider that has committed to using newbuild and fit-for-purpose vessels, specifically the Tiger drillships, with the aspiration to be a full-fledged drilling contractor that both owns and operates assets.

The company's three founding members, coupled with investments from the Reignwood Group, have positioned Opus Offshore to enter a niche market that has been largely ignored, thus far, in the Asia/Pacific region and globally. The company's mission was to fill an existing gap in the market by providing midwater drillships with new and updated equipment. Opus Offshore created the Tiger rig series in a concerted effort to include only the technologies that are truly required to drill a well, rather than expensive additions, the company states.

Recently,Offshore met with Graham Buchan, business development manager, to discuss the company's vision, goals, and strategic plan.

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Opus Tiger 1 (short spec) (Drawing courtesy Opus Offshore)

Offshore: Last year, Songa Offshore sold two rigs to Opus while forming a joint venture drilling management company. Please discuss this strategy and vision behind the establishment of the new company.

Buchan: Opus strives to become the preferred mid to deepwater driller, exceeding client expectations, increasing shareholder value and providing motivating employment. To achieve this, Opus will deliver outstanding operations built on the foundation of quality systems and best practices and commercial astuteness.

The company will provide best in class support for supply chain management; business development; health, safety, and environment; human resources; and finance. Opportunities to grow the business in the mid to deepwater mild environment niche will be continually sought.

Further, we noticed that midwater rigs were all getting older, while most companies were focusing on deepwater, ultra-deepwater rigs and jackups. We decided to enter this market niche, specifically focusing on building midwater drillships with new and updated equipment. The Tiger rig series was thus born from this wager.

Additionally, due to the scarcity of rig workers, we have consciously chosen to focus on simple to use technology, thus our "simple is best" motto. Thanks to this decision, we do not have to rely on highly qualified electronic technicians or third-party contractors to make all repairs on our drillships.

Our own rig mechanics and electricians will not only be able to undertake preventive maintenance, but also to complete most repairs since the equipment we have sourced is familiar and easy to use. Overall, having exactly the necessary parts to function, the Tiger drillship is a fit-for-purpose rig with ideal specifications to complete midwater projects.

Finally, our drillships will have to compete against older rigs when they enter the market, which has made capital costs a major consideration, especially since the current drilling contractors could decide to bid their older rigs at lower prices. As such, we have to ensure our own financial viability over the next two to three years until operators realize the value of our product and are willing to pay for our new rigs.

Offshore: How do the Tiger rigs differ from midwater rigs on the market today?

Buchan: The Tiger class is a conventionally moored drillship for operations in 5,000 ft (1,520 m) water depth and have several features that most midwater rigs don't have. For instance, a high variable deck load of 18,000 tons; offline tubular handling facilities in the derrick from 27⁄8 to 133⁄8 in.; and also dedicated offline christmas tree handling facilities in the moonpool.

The rig can accommodate 150 personnel with state-of-the-art cabins and dining facilities; as well as a mud handling system that handles three different fluids at any time.

It is equipped with a Rolls Royce anti-roll system that can reduce the roll characteristics by up to 42%.

Lastly, it houses a Cameron 18¾-in. -5 Ram EVO 15,000 psi BOP with Cameron Load king 3.5 riser and Cameron multiplex control system conforming to the new API STD 53. Opus Tiger rigs are the only sixth-generation moored midwater drillships on the market today.

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