Maersk Innovator

Semco readies Maersk jack-up for Buzzard drilling campaign

Maersk Drilling’s jack-up Maersk Innovator has completed its yard stay at Invergordon, Scotland during which main contractor Semco Maritime has extended the cantilever ahead of rig’s Buzzard field drilling campaign in the UK North Sea. 

Maersk Innovator; Source: Semco Maritime

Semco Maritime performed the extension of the cantilever alongside various other maintenance and updating projects and some 250 people have been engaged during the intensive six-week stay, the company said on Thursday.

According to Semco, the rig is now heading for operation at the Buzzard field in the Central North Sea.

Semco Maritime’s main work scope was to extend the cantilever five meters in order to allow the rig a larger drilling envelope. The job involved fabricating and installing beams with flanges up to 100 mm and very high tensile 690 Z grade material requiring special weld procedures, Neil Robertson, Operations Manager at Semco Maritime, Invergordon, explained.

The company said that the six-week anchoring at Invergordon’s deep water quay Queens Dock enabled access to the rig from three sides allowing concurrent installation of Helideck C & H lights, replacement of 16” sea water pipe work, and various other maintenance and updating projects all over the rig from spud cans to the crown.

Complex operation

Semco Maritime has spent over 70,000 man hours on the project, said Senior Vice President Lars Skov, head of Rig Projects.

“It is one of the most intensive and at the same time complex operations we have completed to date when considering the tight time frame in which the rig was in port. It has required a lot of planning and dedicated collaboration, and it only makes delivery on time all the more satisfactory,” said Skov.

At the end of 2017, Maersk Drilling was awarded a contract by Nexen Petroleum for the drilling of three wells and options for nine additional wells at UK’s largest producing oil field, the Buzzard field in the Central North Sea.

Maersk Drilling in February 2018 confirmed it would use its Maersk Innovator jack-up rig for Nexen’s drilling campaign in the UK North Sea.

“The extension of the cantilever on Maersk Innovator will allow us to reach all the well slots on the North side of the Buzzard platform from a single rig position,” said Martin Theodorsen, Head of North Sea Region in Commercial with Maersk Drilling.

“This means no additional rig moves are required and allows Nexen great flexibility in terms of which wells to access, while at the same time enabling a fast switch between the wells on the Buzzard platform.”

It is worth reminding that Nexen sanctioned the phase two of the Buzzard field development in August 2018. The define stage of the project, which included the front-end engineering design of the development, was completed in June.

The Buzzard Phase II is a subsea development of the Buzzard northern area. The project aims to develop additional reserves and bring new production on stream. First oil is expected in the first quarter of 2021.