(Asia-Pacific) - Atlantis Deepwater Technology Holding (ADTH) of Norway and China Oilfield Services Ltd. (COSL) reached a final agreement for use of the Atlantis deepwater technology in upcoming deepwater exploration activities in China and other Southeast Asia-Pacific countries, including Australia.
Under the terms of the agreement, COSL will invest approximately $9 million to prepare the first fully operational Atlantis unit for offshore application and gain exclusive rights to use this technology in the territory.
The two companies have also agreed to continue to work toward establishing a joint venture company in China, which will be responsible for all activities related to the use of the Atlantis technology in the area, both for drilling and field developments.
Following transportation of the unit to China and subsequent outfitting work, COSL plans to use the unit in combination with one of their own semisubmersible drilling rigs. The Atlantis unit allows such a rig to extend its water depth capability from the present limit of 400 m to as much as 1,500 m.
The first deepwater well using Atlantis technology is expected to be drilled in the first part of 2006, most likely in the South China Sea.
The Atlantis technology is based on the simple principle of establishing an "artificial" seabed at 200-400 meters below the sea surface. The Atlantis unit is a submerged steel tank, partially air-filled, which is anchored to the seabed using an extended part of the first casing string being used in the well. As opposed to the conventional method of installing all equipment at the seabed, the equipment will now be installed at a "shallow" water depth. As a consequence of this, lower rated and more cost effective drilling and production vessels can be used for deepwater operations.
COSL, whose majority shareholder is the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), is the leading provider of oilfield services in the offshore China market. ADTH is a technology development company located in Norway. The main shareholders in ADTH are the Norwegian ship owners Jan Olaf Tønnevold and Andreas K. L. Ugland, Aker Kværner and Statoil.