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Jack-up rigs demand drive

on Aug 19, 2013


There is an increasing demand for offshore heavy list services.
There is an increasing demand for offshore heavy list services.

Demand for jack-up rigs is predicted to soar in the Middle East. Andrew Pronto takes a look at the projects that are behind the spike, and the rig owners investing in this boom…

Asurge in demand for jack-up rigs is being predicted for the region, heralding new opportunities as well as new challenges. Not only will new fleets be required, but old jack-up rigs are being earmarked for conversion.

More demanding criteria from operators is prompting new designs and enhancements so as to comply with increased regulatory oversight.

Whilst Saudi Arabia is recognised as leading the region for offshore drilling, with projects such as the $10 billion Karan offshore non-associated gas development.

Abu Dhabi has numerous plans for oil drilling. Away from the onshore and island-orientated Upper Zakum project, it is working on the $10 billion Integrated Gas Development (IGD) project, which will see gas from the Umm Shaif field and processed at Ruwais and Habshan.

Half of the OPEC members are from this region and there is a big contract backlog. This and associated projects in the region, will naturally place demand on the jack-up rig sector. There are currently 337 active jack up drilling rids, according to Clarksons.

Of this, 250 rigs are above 30 years of age. According to RS Platou’s June report 107 are active in the Middle East, with eight passive, equating to an effective utilisation rate of 93 per cent.

Popular for use in exploratory drilling, a jack-up rig or self-elevating unit is a type of mobile platform that consists of a buoyant hull-fitted with a number of moveable legs, capable of raising its hull over the surface of the sea using jacking system.

Once on location, the hull is raised to the required elevation above the sea surface on its legs supported by spudcans on the sea bed.

In general, jack-up rigs can only be placed in relatively shallow waters, generally less than 400 ft of water. However, a specialised class of jack-up rigs known as premium or ultra-premium jack-ups can have an operational capability in water depths ranging from 500 to 625 ft.

There are three main types of jack-up rigs; the mobile offshore drilling units (MODU), a type of rig most commonly used in conjunction with oil and/or natural gas drilling. There are more jack-up rigs in the worldwide offshore rig fleet than any other type of mobile offshore drilling rig.

A Turbine Installation Vessel (TIV) is a rig commonly used for offshore wind turbine installation. Finally, jack-up rigs are also referred to as specialised barges that are similar to an oil and gas platform, but used as a base for servicing other structures such as offshore wind turbines, long bridges, and drilling or production platforms.

According to IHS, there is an increasing demand for offshore heavy list services and average of 33 platforms to be installed between 2013 and 2017 to meet the demand. Moreover, 788 fixed platforms are more than 25 years old and there is a need for jack up units with crane and accommodation for repair work of these platforms in offshore.

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