Keppel unveils ultra-deep workhorse

Singapore’s Keppel Fels shipyard has finished work on Transocean’s ultra-deep semi-submersible Development Driller 3, destined for an initial contract with BP in the US Gulf of Mexico.

The unit is Keppel Fels’ third built to its proprietary DSS 51 design, developed in collaboration with Dutch group Marine Structures Consultants and intended for ultra-deep exploration at remote sites. The rig is capable of drilling wells up to 37,500 feet deep in water up to 7500 feet deep, upgradable to depths of 40,000 feet in water up to 10,000 feet deep. The vessel’s 13,500-tonne payload is designed to allow operators to stockpile equipment, reducing the cost of supplying the rig far offshore. Keppel said the rig also featured “double-skinned” leg walls designed to protect the vessel from harsh seas. It said the vessel was well suited to operations in the hurricane-prone US Gulf, as well as in other deep-water environments off Brazil, in West Africa and in Southeast Asia. The shipyard said it had worked closely with Transocean to incorporate the US driller’s proprietary dual-activity into the existing DSS 51 design.

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