Rig upgrade ahead of Ichthys drilling campaign

Posted 28 April 2014

The INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG Project has today celebrated the arrival of its development drilling rig in Singapore, where it will undergo major upgrades before it is mobilised to the Ichthys gas-condensate field for the Project’s drilling campaign.

Previously in the Mediterranean, the ENSCO 5006 was towed from Cyprus to the Keppel FELS shipyard via South Africa. INPEX Director Well Construction and Integrity Manuel Sessink said the planned upgrades will make the ENSCO 5006 fit-for-purpose for the Project.

“The upgrade will see modifications to the deck and increased capacity in the lifting equipment to facilitate the safe and efficient handling of the Project’s vertical Christmas trees,” Mr Sessink said.

“With the rig likely to be in the Ichthys gas-condensate field for several years drilling the first 20 wells, refurbishment of the accommodation interior to safely and comfortably house a larger workforce is required.”

“The increased workforce means upgrades to lifeboats and significant changes around the helideck, including refueling facilities, to cater for large EC225 or S92 helicopters necessary to transport crews.”

Following completion of the upgrades in the shipyard, the rig will be towed to the Ichthys gas-condensate field to begin the production drilling and completion activities during the last quarter of 2014. The Ichthys reservoirs are situated in the Timor Sea approximately 200 kilometres off the Western Australian coast and more than 800 kilometres southwest of Darwin.

Over the 40-year initial design life of the Ichthys LNG Project, up to 50 subsea production wells will be drilled into reservoirs 4,000 to 4,500 metres beneath the seabed.

Ichthys Project Managing Director Louis Bon recognised this as one of the major milestones that the Ichthys LNG Project will reach in 2014. “Our drilling campaign is fundamental to the success of the Project and we are looking forward to the rig’s arrival in field in a few months’ time. There, it will join Heerema’s Aegir vessel and Saipem’s Castorone barge which will respectively be installing the subsea infrastructure and laying the 42-inch pipe line,” Mr Bon said.