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  1. Analysis
March 2, 2014

Green machine – inside the world’s biggest jack-up drill rig

A project to build the world’s biggest jack-up drill rig, the Dubai Expo 2020 NS otherwise known as the CJ80, is currently underway. Drydocks World and Drill One Capital have begun work on the rig, which will not only be the biggest ever built, but also have impressive energy and emissions saving credentials

By Heidi Vella

The Middle East’s biggest shipyard Drydocks World (DDW), along with its partner Drill One Capital, is currently undertaking one of its biggest construction projects to date – building a $730 million "mega" oil rig it says will be the biggest in the world.

The Dubai owned shipyard announced in January 2014 it would build the Dubai Expo 2020 NS mega Jack-up rig designed by Netherlands based Gusto MSC.

The rig is specifically designed to withstand the harsh environment of the North Sea where oil companies are currently extending their search for oil in more hostile and deeper waters.

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As such, the CJ 80 rig, as it is also known, is designed for deep drilling, specifically to drill at a maximum water-depth of 175m in standalone mode with a 25m air-gap.

In recent years there has been a greater demand for specialised drilling equipment to enable companies to drill in deeper and more remote exploration blocks in a bid to counteract current declining North Sea reserves in both Norway and the UK.

In February, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to revolutionise North Sea oil in order to secure oil and gas extraction worth up to £200bn over two decades. His plan will inevitably require oil companies, such as Statoil ASA, BP Plc and ConocoPhillips, who already operate in the North Sea, to explore and drill currently un-chartered waters.

Environmental credentials

Once built one of the rig’s main features will be its fuel and emissions savings. According to a Drydocks World’s press release the rig is "totally environmentally friendly," for example, due to the latest fuel efficient technology the rig will consume 30% less fuel. It will also generate fresh water using waste heat from engine cooling, as well as heat by hot water generated from exhaust waste heat.

Furthermore, the rig, which is designed to accommodate 160 people, will a have up to a 25% reduction of CO2 and N0x (mono-nitrogen oxides) emissions and zero discharge to sea to meet Norwegian and UK legal requirements. Other environmentally friendly design features include LED lighting.

CJ 80 wolrds largest jack up oil rig

His Excellency Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of Drydocks World & Maritime World said of the project: "Today we have entered into the next stage of technology and design by building a green rig which takes the oil industry to a new level.

"It is a demonstration of DDW capability to build world first mega projects as we demonstrated in previous projects such as ‘The Shell Prelude FLNG turret, Solan storage tank and DolWin beta’, and now building this global first and largest rig."

The 101m X 110m, 5500 square metre unit will be classed by DNV – the world’s largest ship and offshore classification society – and will meet all rules and regulations in force in the Norwegian and the UK sector of the North Sea.

According to Drydocks the rig will also be equipped with the latest available state-of-the-art drilling equipment to be able to drill to 40.000 ft drilling depth. The rig will be equipped with a total of four high pressure (7000 psi) mud pumps.

Future projects on the horizon

""The rig will a have up to a 25% reduction of CO2 and N0x (mono-nitrogen oxides) emissions and zero discharge"."

Drydocks hope the building of this rig will show "DDW’s capability to build world-first mega projects".

His Excellency added: "We seek to develop our capabilities in building highly specialised units for the offshore oil and gas sectors and are gearing up for more innovative and technology-intensive projects that would serve the emerging needs of the energy sector."

The company is also pursuing contracts in other areas of the world such as Iran, which the company says has a lot of potential. However, it has pulled out of projects in Turkey due to political and economic risks.

The company, which earns $20 million to $30 million a month from its Dubai operations alone, reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $110 million in 2013 and expects its profit to increase this year.

Delivery of the Dubai Expo 2020 NS mega Jack-up rig is expected in 2017.

Follow Heidi Vella on Google+


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