Saipem 10000 will reach India in April for Eni

Vol 14, PW 16 (10 Feb 11) Exploration & Production

Arthur Conan Doyle made the Andaman Islands famous in his Sherlock Holmes mystery novel ‘The Sign of Four’.

Another mystery has just been solved: deepwater drillship Saipem 10000, owned and operated by Eni subsidiary Saipem, will come to India in early April to drill the first of three Phase-I exploration wells in water depths of around 2000 metres at Eni-operated block AN-DWN-2003/2, making the Italian major the first to explore the deepwater region near the Andaman Islands. “Saipem 10000 will take four days to sail to India from Indonesia,” confirms an industry source.

Eni, he adds, is busy hiring oilfield and other allied services in preparation for the rig’s arrival and is talking to Greatship and Tide Water to hire Platform Support Vessels (PSVs) and Multi-purpose Support Vessels (MSVs). “Eni is talking to all the major contractors,” we hear.

“It hopes to award contracts before the rig arrives.” When it reaches the Andaman Islands Saipem 10000 could complete the proposed drilling programme in three months.

“Saipem 10000 is one of the most advanced drillships in the world,” explains our source. “It has two ‘derricks’ with two ‘drill strings’ and two sets of crew to operate each derrick.

When both drill strings are operating, Saipem can drill a well twice as fast as other deepwater drillships.” But another source adds that Saipem 10000 can operate two drill strings simultaneously only until the ‘riser’ is lowered.

“You cannot operate two drill strings once the riser and the ‘BOP’ (Blow out Preventer) are lowered,” we are told. “Most deepwater wells are drilled like this.

” Eni plans to drill each well at the 13,110-sq km NELP-V block to 5000 metres TD or the ‘Sumatra Fault’ geological formation. “Eni operates a discovered gasfield off Indonesia,” we hear.

“It bid for this block because it thinks the Sumatra Fault extends to the Andaman area.”

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