Keppel Offshore & Marine and ConocoPhillips today announced a joint project that they claim could potentially yield major breakthrough’s in offshore Arctic drilling. The project aims to design the first-ever ice-worthy jackup rig to operate in one one the harshest marine environments, the Arctic Seas.
Keppel says the jackup rig will feature dual cantilevers that will help the rig perform drilling operations within a limited time window and will be self-sustaining for 14 day stretches. The jackup will also be equipped with a hull designed for towing in even the harshest ice conditions including impacts from multi-year ice floes and ridges.
“We are glad to partner with ConocoPhillips to jointly design this ice-worthy jackup rig for the Arctic Seas,” said Keppel’s Dr Foo Kok Seng. “The features of this jackup rig make it a cost-effective and promising drilling solution for the Arctic Offshore. In leveraging the combined expertise, resources and research findings of Keppel O&M and ConocoPhillips, we believe that this joint project will achieve significant breakthroughs in offshore Arctic drilling.”
In a press statement, Keppel highlights its established track record in designing and building rigs for harsh environments including three KFELS N Class rigs (pictured) for work in the North Sea. The N Class jackups are compable operating in harsh weather conditions in water depths ranging from 400-500 feet, which are 40% deeper than traditional units in benign waters.
In 2008, Keppel O&M’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Keppel Singmarine broke into the Arctic market, having successfully delivered the first pair of icebreakers built in the tropics of Asia to LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft.
Keppel and ConocoPhillips expect the joint design project to be completed by end 2013.