Keppel names semi-sub ahead of delivery to Caspian driller

Keppel Offshore & Marine through its subsidiary in Azerbaijan, Caspian Shipyard Company (CSC), is on track to deliver a semi-submersible drilling rig to Caspian Drilling Company, a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR).

The rig was named Heydar Aliyev, after the former president of Azerbaijan, at a ceremony in Azerbaijan on Thursday by the current President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

Built to Keppel FELS’ proprietary DSSTM 38M design, the rig has been customized for the Caspian Sea’s harsh environment condition. It is the first modern semi-submersible to be almost completely built in Azerbaijan, Keppel noted.

Chris Ong, Acting CEO of Keppel O&M said, “The DSSTM 38M design is a technologically advanced rig equipped with the latest safety and environmental features to operate efficiently in the Caspian Sea.”

Ong added: “To meet the requirements of our customer, we were able to construct this rig almost completely in-country, a first for land-locked Azerbaijan, by leveraging the synergies of Keppel O&M’s network of yards.”

CSC undertook the fabrication, integration, testing and commissioning of the rig while its sister yard, Baku Shipyard (a joint-venture yard between Keppel and SOCAR), fabricated the pontoons. In Singapore, besides providing the engineering, procurement and technical support, Keppel FELS also fabricated the columns and bracings which were shipped to Baku through the narrow Volga Don canal.

Equipped with well control piping, BOP handling and foundations rated for 20,000 PSI, Keppel said that the DSSTM 38M will be the first shallow water semi-submersible to have the capabilities to perform drilling in expanded areas of operation in the oil fields of Azerbaijan.

It is able to work at a drilling depth of up to 40,000ft and operations in 1000m water depth. Designed to be fully moored, the rig will be able to stay in position via an 8 point wire rope mooring system which is capable of self-contained mooring up to the full range of the water depths of the Caspian Sea.

Jointly developed and owned by Keppel’s Deepwater Technology Group and GustoMSC, the DSSTM 38M design is an enhanced design of the DSSTM 38 rigs that are operating in Brazil.

CSC has a track record of completing rigs for the Caspian Sea, having delivered the first semi-submersible (the DSSTM 20 Maersk Explorer), the first jack-up rig (Transocean’s Trident 20 jack-up rig) and the first ice-class Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) vessel built in-country.

The Maersk Drilling-owned drilling rig Maersk Explorer was for a while known as Heydar Aliyev before being renamed back to its original name Maersk Explorer earlier this year.

These projects were done in collaboration with its sister yards in Singapore which fabricated modules that were then shipped through the narrow Volga Don Canal for completion at CSC.

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