Domestic Potential for Building 2nd Semisub Drilling Rig

Domestic Potential for Building 2nd Semisub Drilling RigDomestic Potential for Building 2nd Semisub Drilling Rig

An Iranian company has announced that it is capable of building the second semisubmersible deepwater drilling rig for oil exploration projects in the Caspian Sea, Shana news agency reported Sunday.

Khazar Oil Exploration and Production Company has just finished appraisal well testing and drilling operations of the second exploratory well at the Caspian Sea, the company's managing director, Ali Osouli stated. "We can now build another semisubmersible drilling rig like Iran Amir Kabir, and we have all the equipment and manpower for the repair and maintenance of these rigs inside the country," he asserted.

The Iran Amir Kabir Semisub is operated by North Drilling Company, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). The deepwater drilling rig became operational in 2009.

Last April, one of the rig's cranes crashed during drilling operations of the second exploratory well. The incident did not cause any casualties or damages. The rig resumed operation 48 hours after the incident, and the crashed crane was reinstalled on the rig a few weeks later. Iran Amir Kabir rig was built to explore and drill oil wells and extract Iran's share of the oil and gas from the Caspian Sea. In December 2011 Iran announced that has discovered a huge gas field after years-longed operations with Amir Kabir rig in the Caspian Sea. Iran called this field Sardar-e Jangal. Sardar-e Jangal field's first well was drilled 700 meters deep in an area with the ultimate depth of 1000 meters. The field's natural gas reserves are estimated at about 50 trillion cubic feet.

For the first stage of exploration operations on the field, Osouli noted, equipment was imported. "But now we can rely on our own resources for the second phase of the project," he said.

Khazar company also plans to manufacture blowout preventer, which is a key part of the deepwater drilling operations. "The preventer is a 220-ton mechanical device that's made up of 89 pieces," Osouli said, adding that the maintenance of a blowout preventer "is a very costly operation."

A blowout preventer is a large, specialized valve, usually installed redundantly in stacks, used to seal, control and monitor oil and gas wells. Blowout preventers were developed to cope with extreme erratic pressures and uncontrolled flow emanating from a well reservoir during drilling.