Seadrill has again specified Rolls-Royce thrusters for three drillships to be built by Samsung in Korea. Each vessel will be equipped with six azimuth thrusters, each rated at 4,500kW. A similar thruster order is specified for a drillship ordered by Pacific Drilling, while more powerful thrusters of the same design have also been ordered for an Ensco drillship, both to be built at the same Samsung yard.
These latest orders, worth over £70 million and include options for additional thrusters, are from a variety of customers who are expanding their drillship fleets and are driven by greater demand in oil and gas exploration in deep water and harsh conditions.
Rolls-Royce Senior Vice President Offshore, Helge Gjerde said: “Numerous drillships with Rolls-Royce thrusters have been delivered in the past few years, making Rolls-Royce the clear market leader for this type of propulsion. We are very pleased to see that customers in this industry continue to have confidence in our abilities to support their business with mission-critical systems, products and services.”
These high specification drillships operate in dynamic positioning (DP) mode, using satellite technology to automatically maintain position without anchoring. This places a heavy responsibility on thruster performance and reliability. Highly efficient propulsion during transit moves to a drilling site, and closely controlled position keeping when drilling operations are in progress are key requirements of these giant thrusters.
Rolls-Royce thrusters are also to be used on drillships previously contracted in Korea by Rowan, Noble and Fred Olsen at Hyundai and by Attwood, Transocean (Aker) and Vantage at Daewoo.