(EnergyAsia, June 5 2013, Wednesday) — Singapore’s Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M) said it has secured a contract from Caspian Drilling Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), to build a US$800 million semisubmersible drilling rig that includes furnished equipment.

Keppel O&M said it will deliver the project, secured through its subsidiaries, Caspian Rigbuilders BV (an affiliated company of Keppel FELS) and Caspian Shipyard Company (CSC), in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The rig will be built to Keppel FELS’ proprietary DSSTM 38M design, which has been customised for the Caspian Sea’s harsh environment condition. It is designed to operate in 1,000m of water and drill to 13,000m, and is outfitted with an 800m self-contained eight point mooring system designed to meet high wind speeds in the open sea. The pontoons have been designed for the rig to transit in channels with shallow draft of less than seven metres.

Keppel said its Caspian Shipyard Company (CSC) yard in Azerbaijan, will fabricate, integrate, test and commission the rig while its joint-venture yard with SOCAR, Baku Shipyard LLC, will undertake part of the fabrication of the pontoons and columns. Keppel FELS will provide engineering, procurement and technical support.

CSC, the most established yard in the country, has a firm track record of completing rigs for the Caspian Sea, having delivered the first semisubmersible (the DSSTM 20 Maersk Explorer, renamed the Heydar Aliyev), jackup rig (Transocean’s Trident 20 jackup rig) and ice-class floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel.

SOCAR’s President, Rovnag Abdullayev, said:

“We are keen to expand our offshore drilling programme to drill wells such as the Babak and Absheron fields in addition to the Shah Deniz field. We have ordered the first of our new next-generation rigs from Keppel. We are confident that the Keppel-designed rig is a robust and efficient rig that will increase our offshore drilling capabilities.”

Tong Chong Heong, Keppel O&M’s CEO, said the company will harness the synergies of its global network of yards in the design and construction of this rig.

“Keppel O&M has built up a strong track record in delivering significant projects for Azerbaijan and this latest order is an affirmation of our abilities to deliver to our customer’s need. Having operated in Azerbaijan since 1997 and developed a strong partnership with SOCAR, we understand the requirements for rigs to operate in the Caspian environment,” he said.

“This is an important market with great potential which is why we have added another yard, Baku Shipyard, to our capabilities here. Together, our yards are able to provide value-added solutions and extend our offerings for the Caspian Sea. We have tailored the DSSTM 38M design as a cost-effective rig equipped with the latest safety and environmental features to operate efficiently in the Caspian Sea.”

Jointly developed and owned by Keppel’s Deepwater Technology Group and Marine Structure Consultants, the DSSTM 38M design is an enhanced design of the successful DSSTM 38 rigs that are operating in Brazil.

Azerbaijan, Central Asia’s largest offshore oil and gas producer, plans to build more rigs to exploit the Caspian Sea’s vast untapped oil and gas reserves.