Maersk Drilling rig no longer named after Azeri president


Maersk Drilling’s semi-submersible drilling rig Heydar Aliyev, working for BP in Azerbaijan, has been renamed back to its original name, the Maersk Explorer.

Maersk Drilling told Offshore Energy Today that the rig name was changed back to its original one, Maersk Explorer, about a month ago, per agreement with the relevant authorities in Azerbaijan. The company did not say what the reason for the name change was.

The rig, Maersk’s first ever in the Caspian Sea, had been named Heydar Aliyev, after the former president of Azerbaijan, who remained at the country’s helm for 20 years between 1993 and 2003.

He relinquished the position on October 15, 2003, due to health problems, and his son and current Azerbaijan president, Ilham Aliyev, succeeded him. He passed away on December 12, 2003, in Cleveland Hospital in the United States of America.


Maersk Explorer


The rig has been working for BP in Azerbaijan since it came into operation in 2003. In July 2015, Maersk Drilling signed a contract extension for the rig with BP. The new 5-year contract worth around $523 million was a direct continuation of the contract which was supposed to end in May 2016.

The Maersk Explorer rig was built and delivered in 2003 by Caspian Shipyard Company and KeppelFELS. The rig is designed for year-round operations at water depths from 40m to 1,000m (147ft to 3,280ft).

This is the third rig to be named Maersk Explorer, but the previous two were both jack-up rigs and are no longer a part of the Maersk fleet. The original 1967-built Maersk Explorer jack-up was the largest of its kind in the world at the time.

Another Maersk Explorer jack-up was built in 1975. It was a Marine 306 jack-up later sold to Pride and converted to an accommodation unit named the Pride Rotterdam, now the Atlantic Rotterdam.

The latest of the Maersk Explorers, that is, the current one, was named in Baku on July 24, 2003, and later was given the local name Lider, meaning “leader” in Azeri. The local name was then changed to Heydar Aliyev in November 2003, a month before the death of the former Azeri president.

Offshore Energy Today Staff