Discoverer Americas – A 6th Generation Drillship Leaves the Gulf of Mexico

Rob Almeida
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September 21, 2010

For Statoil and Transocean’s crew assigned to the Discoverer Americas, heading to Egypt had always been part of the long term plan, however in this case, the schedule got moved to the right by at least a year following the Deepwater Horizion disaster.

The Discoverer Americas left last night on a 30-day voyage to the waters north of the Nile River delta off Egypt.  For the next 3 to 6 months, they will be conducting ultra-deep exploratory drilling operations for Statoil, a highly experienced Norwegian energy company that for 35 years, has proven itself as a leader in harsh environment E&P operations.

One of Transocean’s newest 6th Generation Drillships, the Discoverer Americas is a technological marvel.  Designed to drill in water up to 12,000 feet to a measured depth of 40,000 feet, everything on her is built like a brick you-know-what.  At full load, her displacement of 101,ooo metric tons equals that of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, and she is 835 feet from bow to stern.  The dual-activity derrick rises 294 feet above the main deck at centerline while suspending (2) 240,000 pound modular derrick drilling machines over the rig floor.  Each of these capable of inflicting 150,000 foot-pounds of torque to any steel pipe lucky enough to be attached to it.

Six Rolls-Royce diesel-electric 7,000 HP azipod thrusters are precisely controlled by a state-of-the-art Kongsberg dynamic positioning system keeping her within a foot or two of location in most conditions.  Six MAN B&W 14V engines provide up to 40,000 kW of electrical power to the thrusters, drilling package, and all auxiliary systems.

Without a doubt however, the most impressive aspect of the Americas is her crew.  While working on board for the past year I got to know many of them and I was impressed on a daily basis by their technical ability, initiative, and their personal efforts to promote a safety culture on board.

Have a safe passage and come back soon fellas.

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