Sonsub launches new subsea vessel

Sonsub International has christened its new inspection, maintenance, repair, and subsea construction vessel - the Polar Prince.

Sonsub International has christened its new inspection, maintenance, repair, and subsea construction vessel - the Polar Prince. The Polar Prince is a Class II dynamically positioned (DP) vessel measuring 94 meters in length by 22 meters in width. The vessel will be used for light subsea construction and intervention and the support of Sonsub's trenching machines. The vessel features a 75 metric ton (mt) heave-compensated crane for lifts down to 2,000 meters, and in excess of 120 metric tons at 11-meter radius with double fall reeving. The vessel also is equipped with a 100 mt, 13-meter-high A-Frame and a 60 metric-ton stern roller.

The Polar Prince features a main deck in excess of 1,000 sq meters with a 10 metric ton load capacity. The vessel also has two moonpools for separate module lowering and remotely operated vehicles (ROV) operations. For such operations, the vessel features a built-in ROV launching cursor system designed for operations up to Sea State 8 in addition to a port side opening that supports the hanger for launch and recovery of a second work-class ROV. A third ROV can also be deployed from the upper deck using a 5 mt crane. The Polar Prince was designed and is owned by Rieber Shipping A/S and has been chartered by Sonsub on a long-term basis.

Veritas christens second Viking vessel

Veritas DGC has officially christened the SRV Veritas Viking II, the second of its Viking class vessels, at a ceremony in Bergen, Norway.

The Veritas Viking II is a high-specification 3D seismic vessel. The Viking II is identical to its sister vessel the Veritas Viking.

The vessel is 306 ft long by 72 ft wide. The vessel has the capacity for extra-long offsets, up to 12-km streamer deployment, and can handle and tow more than 16 24-bit Reduced Diameter Array (RDA) streamers. The Viking II also has a wide tow capability with a typical outer separation of 700 meters allowing for offsets, CDP line spacings, and numbers of CDP lines per pass to be configured for a project.

The typical streamer configuration for the vessel includes 8 by 6,000 meters, 6 by 8,000 meters, or 4 by 12,000 meters, all with 3,840 channels at 12.5-meter group length and 25-meter CDP line spacing.

In addition, a computerized towed-array management system controls the deployment and retrieval of towed equipment. The vessel has already amassed a strong backlog of work and has begun operations acquiring long-offset data for the AMP Group west of Britain. Following completion of this contract, the vessel will begin a 4D survey for Norsk Hydro on the Oseberg Field offshore Norway and will then move to the UK sector to acquire a 1,300 sq km group shoot survey.

Discoverer Enterprise begins sea trials

Transocean's Discoverer Enterprise is undergoing sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. The final outfitting of the massive 835-ft deepwater drillship was completed by Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Mississippi. Ingalls completed the oufitting of the vessel, which included loading and integrating major shipboard components such as the substructure and derrick and will also oversee the testing and sea trials. Upon successful completion of trials, the vessel will begin operations for BP Amoco in the Gulf of Mexico. Discoverer Enterprise is outfitted for 10,000 ft water depth capability and a total drilling depth of 35,000 ft.

Astra enters Caspian service

A new upgraded mobile drilling rig has entered operations in the Caspian Sea. The Khazoil jackup Astra (formerly Marawah) was officially named at a ceremony in Astrakhan, Russia following the successful upgrade at the Krasnye Barrykady shipyard on the Caspian Sea under the management of Aker Rauma of Finland.

The rig was originally in service in the Arabian Gulf offshore Bahrain until being acquired by Khazoil in 1997. However, to get the rig into the Caspian Sea for the upgrade and operation, which can only be accessed by the narrow canals on the Volga River, it had to be transported to the Aker Rauma yard in Finland where it was broken into sections. The sections were then sailed a distance of 19,000 km to the Krasnye Barrykady shipyard where they were reassembled and upgraded.

The Astra is a three-leg jackup measuring 66 meters tall and can drill to a total depth of 5,000 meters in up to 45 ft of water. The rig has begun drilling the first exploratory well on the Khvalynskoye Field in the Severny license area.

Two Bingo deepwater semisubmersibles delayed

Friede Goldman Offshore has notified Ocean Rig that delivery on its two deepwater semisubmersibles, Bingo 9000-1 and Bingo 9000-2, have been delayed until the second quarter of next year. The rigs are under construction at the Friede Goldman Offshore yard in Pascagoula, Mississippi and the company contends that the schedule completion has been impacted due to reasons beyond their control.

This latest in a long list of rig delays has the potential to cause yet another skirmish in the industry. Some reports have indicated that Friede Goldman allegedly is blaming Ocean Rig for the delays, claiming that they were caused by delays in the receipt of owner-furnished equipment and engineering. Ocean Rig has said that it will be in discussions with the builder over the delays in an effort to resolve the conflict. However, the contract with Friede Goldman includes a penalty clause for late delivery of up to $6 million per rig. Neither rig has secured a long-term contract.

Marine Drilling gets first of two

Marine Drilling has taken delivery of one deepwater semisubmersible and should have delivery of a second by publication date. The Marine 500 upgraded semisubmersible was accepted by West Australian Petroleum (WAPET) and the rig has been mobilized from Singapore to Western Australia for its initial contract, set to expire at year-end 2001. The rig was delayed and cost Marine a one-time $6 million mobilization fee under the contract.

The second rig, the newbuild Marine 700 was undergoing commissioning at press time and was 92%. The vessel was expected to meet the delivery deadline of July 15. The rig was under construction at the Friede Goldman west-bank facility, and upon completion will undergo a five-year contract with Esso Exploration.

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