Keppel’s US Yard to Build Semisubmersible for Diamond

Helix's Q4000 was constructed at the Keppel AmFELS yard in Brownsville and was delivered in 2002.

Diamond Offshore said today that one of its subsidiaries has entered into a $300 million contract with Keppel Offshore and Marine for the construction of a moored semisubmersible rig.  While the contract announcement is newsworthy in and of itself, what’s really interesting is that the rig will be constructed at Keppel AmFELS shipyard located in Brownsville, Texas.

The rig, to be named Ocean Onyx, will be constructed from the existing hull of a Diamond Offshore cold stacked unit, previously operated as the Ocean Voyager.  The reconstruction will include installation of advanced equipment such as a modern drilling package, and installation of sponsons to the pontoons for enhanced the stability in deepwater. The rig will be designed to operate in water depths of up to 6,000 feet and will have a variable deck load of 5,000 long tonnes, a five-ram blowout preventer, and quarters capacity for 140 personnel.

Diamond says that the $300 million price tag, which includes commissioning and spares and project management, but excludes capitalized interest, will be paid out of available funds.  Delivery of the Ocean Onyx is scheduled for the third quarter of 2013.

Diamond Offshore’s fleet of offshore rigs includes 32 semisubmersibles, 13 jack-ups, and one drillship.  Diamond also has on order three ultra-deepwater drillships currently under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea.

The contract marks the first semisubmersible rig construction at Keppel AmFELS since the Q4000, delivered in 2002 to Cal Dive and now operated by Helix.  The Q4000 was famously used in the successful static kill operation that stopped the flow of oil from the Macondo Well following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Keppel AmFELS was established in 1990 and has since focused primarily on the construction of jack-ups, as well as repair and conversion of rigs operating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.