Maersk Drilling, NOV in pact to cut rig maintenance cost

Offshore driller Maersk Drilling and oilfield equipment provider National Oilwell Varco have entered into a five-year partnership to improve maintenance predictability for drilling equipment.

The two companies say the “shared vision” behind the pact is to implement a new maintenance mind-set which will “increase value for customers by minimizing operational down time, while lowering maintenance cost levels.”

The agreement covers Maersk Drilling’s three deepwater D-class semi-submersibles as well as the four ultra-deepwater V-class drillships.

Until now, the Danish offshore driller said, major overhaul of drilling equipment has been carried out with five-year intervals as part of the Special Periodic Surveys (SPS) at quay side. Through this partnership agreement, Maersk Drilling will switch to a condition-based maintenance strategy, where overhaul and repairs will, to the extent possible, be carried out as rolling maintenance while the unit is operating.

New way of looking at maintenance


“This is a new way of looking at maintenance, and our ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for quay-side SPS yard stays every five years, while still ensuring the highest level of safety and operational efficiency possible. In Maersk Drilling, we wish to collaborate with industry leaders to challenge traditional ways of thinking and continue to enhance the way we operate,” says Frederik Smidth, Chief Technical Officer in Maersk Drilling.

“By partnering up with National Oilwell Varco, we aim at achieving a higher level of maintenance predictability, hereby reducing the cash-flow impact from maintenance activities – ultimately resulting in less downtime for our customers. Collecting, analyzing and sharing data as well as detailed knowledge about the equipment will be key in succeeding, which is why we believe a long-term partnership is a must,” Smidth continues.

By collecting and analyzing data continuously, it becomes possible for Maersk Drilling to carry out the right level of maintenance, at the right time, without interfering with a busy drilling schedule.

As part of the agreement, NOV will establish a dedicated team which can assist Maersk Drilling’s rigs when needed.

According to Maersk Drilling, such team can be deployed instantly if an urgent task arises or if a window of opportunity opens in which the crew needs assistance with a major overhaul job. As an example, the driller said, this could be installation and start-up of a new top drive, while less time-consuming maintenance tasks may only require parts and instructions to be shipped to the rig for the crew to handle.

When needed and where circumstances allow, equipment will be replaced and sent onshore for a complete overhaul to minimize interference on the rig. Following the overhaul, the equipment will return to service on one of the sister rigs with all latest safety and operational upgrades in place.

“In a challenged market like the one we are in today; joint value creation is of utmost importance. We have to look at all aspects of the way we conduct maintenance today, and we need to innovate and continue to optimize our ways of working. Through collaborative work on for example maintenance, we are able to draw on cross-industry strengths and knowledge in order to unlock value, and ultimately reduce the total well cost for our customers,” Smidth concludes.