Singapore-based Keppel Offshore & Marine has secured a contract worth about $800m from a subsidary of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) to construct a semisubmersible drilling rig.

The contract with SOCAR’s subsidary, Caspian Drilling Company Ltd, came through Keppel’s subsidiaries, Caspian Rigbuilders and Caspian Shipyard Company (CSC).

Under the contract, which also includes owner furnished equipment, Keppel will build the rig based on FELS’ proprietary DSSTM 38M design, which has been specially designed to meet the Caspian Sea’s tough environmental conditions.

The DSSTM 38M design, which has been jointly developed and is jointly owned by Keppel’s Deepwater Technology Group and Marine Structure Consultants, is an advanced design of the DSSTM 38 rigs that are currently operating in Brazil.

Scheduled to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2016, the DSSTM 38M will be designed for a drilling depth of up to 40,000ft and for operations in 1,000m water depths.

"Keppel will build the rig based on FELS’ proprietary DSSTM 38M design, which has been specially designed."

The rig will be equipped with an 800m self-contained eight-point mooring system to meet high wind speeds in the tough Caspian environment, while the pontoons for the rig will enable transit in channels with shallow drafts of less than seven metres.

The fabrication, integration, testing and commissioning of the rig will be performed at Keppel’s yard in Azerbaijan, CSC, while Keppel’s joint-venture yard with SOCAR, Baku Shipyard, will carry out part of the fabrication of the pontoons and columns. Keppel FELS will provide engineering, procurement and technical support.

Keppel Offshore & Marine CEO, Tong Chong Heong, said: "Keppel O&M will harness the synergies of its global network of yards in the design and construction of this rig."

"Together, our yards are able to provide value-added solutions and extend our offerings for the Caspian Sea. We have tailored the DSSTM 38M design as a cost-effective rig equipped with the latest safety and environmental features to operate efficiently in the Caspian Sea," Heong added.

SOCAR president, Rovnag Abdullayev, said: "We are keen to expand our offshore drilling programme to drill wells such as the Babak and Absheron fields in addition to the Shah Deniz field."

"We have ordered the first of our new next-generation rigs from Keppel. We are confident that the Keppel-designed rig is a robust and efficient rig that will increase our offshore drilling capabilities," Abdullayev added.

Image: The rig based on the DSSTM 38M design will allow drilling to 40,000ft. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.