L&T in major repair of rig damaged by Hurricane Rita

Vol 12, PW 26 (04 Jun 09) Exploration & Production

Larsen & Toubro believes repair of a jack-up severely damaged by Hurricane Rita that swept the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 will be completed by the year-end.

Global Santa Fe Adriatic VII was reduced to a damaged hull after Hurricane Rita knocked her out. London-based Foresight Drilling then stepped in to buy the rig, which had suffered 75% damage, for around $130m and contracted L&T to repair and upgrade the rig.

Renamed Foresight Driller VII, the rig was transported by barge to L&T’s brand new shipyard at Sohar in Oman – the first contract of its kind for L&T, better known as an EPC contractor. Since it opened, L&T’s Oman yard was hit by a lack of orders because of its inexperience in rig construction.

So the $33m order from Foresight was eagerly welcomed, as successful completion of such a complex assignment would signal L&T’s entry into the rig building business, at least indirectly. L&T tells us work on Foresight Driller VII is on schedule and that, “the rig will be ready before December this year.

â€‌ Adds L&T: “This is first rig so severely damaged by Hurricane Rita to get back into the market.â€‌ Hurricane Rita destroyed the rig’s derrick, drill floor, legs, and helicopter landing deck, cranes, spud cans, lifeboats and other equipment.

All these components are now being put back in place. In addition, the rig is being fitted with an extra engine.

“About 500 people are working round-the-clock on this rig,â€‌ we hear. L&T says it is carrying out the repairs and upgrade within the “extremely tight schedule of 506 daysâ€‌.

L&T is also carrying out a major upgrade of the rig. “Earlier, the rig could drill in 300-feet water depths only,â€‌ says L&T.

“But now she’ll be able to drill in 350-feet water depths.â€‌ The rig is being reclassified from its previous American Bureau of Shipping classification to the more stringent Det Norske Veritas standard.

Unlike ABS classification, DNV classification allows rigs to operate in the North Sea.