ExxonMobil bags rig for Kipper gig

ExxonMobil has hired the semi-submersible drilling rig Ocean Patriot for development drilling next year on the A$1.1 billion Kipper subsea gas project off south-east Australia.

The US giant did deals with Apache and rig owner Diamond Offshore to secure the semisub. Drilling of the Kipper subsea wells will begin in early 2010, and will run between three and six months, said ExxonMobil, which is the operator and owns 32.5% of Kipper. Partners are BHP Billiton (32.5%) and Santos (35%). The field sits in 100 metres of water and holds 620 billion cubic feet of recoverable gas and 30 million barrels of condensate. J Ray McDermott is providing offshore installation services; Vetco Gray the subsea production system; Aker Kvaerner the umbilicals, while Production Services Network will do brownfield engineering on the existing West Tuna platform.

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