(EnergyAsia, December 6 2012, Thursday) — This was a week of contrasting fortunes for Singapore’s two world-leading oil rig builders.

On Monday, Sembcorp Marine suffered one of its worst industrial accidents in recent years while Keppel Corp announced it had signed a US$1.2 billion contract to build two rigs.

Sembcorp Marine, a subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries, said a jack-up rig under construction at its Jurong Shipyard tilted and injured 89 workers, 22 of them seriously. The company said the braking system on one of the rig’s three movable legs had failed, causing the structure to tilt at 17 degrees.

SembCorp Marine President Wong Weng Sun told a media briefing that the brakes had been used successfully in previous projects.

Jurong Shipyard was the site of Singapore’s worst industrial accident when 76 workers were killed in an explosion while working on the Greek tanker Spyros in October 1978.

Meanwhile, Keppel FELS Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd, said it secured a contract from Ukraine’s National Joint-Stock Company (Naftogaz) to construct two semisubmersible drilling rigs worth a total of US$1.2 billion. The contract will be effective upon final corporate approvals.

The rigs will be built to Keppel FELS’ proprietary DSSTM 38U design which is customised for the Black Sea environment. The harsh weather conditions of the Black Sea include extreme freezing temperatures, storms with strong winds and heavy seas.

Durable grades of steel with increased thickness will form the basis of the structural design of the hull and pontoons of the rigs. They will have winterisation features such as machinery cladding, advanced heating systems to prevent equipment and pipe freezing as well as enhanced air conditioning for the living quarters.

Wong Kok Seng, managing director (offshore) of Keppel O&M and managing director of Keppel FELS, said:

“We are pleased to be chosen by Naftogaz to work on these two complex projects for the Black Sea. Having delivered two jackup rigs for the Black Sea, we understand the specifications necessary for rigs to work in such extreme conditions.

“We have a suite of proprietary semisubmersible designs capable of operating in all frontiers. Coupled with our experience in building harsh environment rigs and the strong partnership we have built up with Naftogaz, we are confident of delivering robust, high quality rigs that will excel in operations in the Black Sea.”

According to Ukraine’s official estimates in 2011, the country holds proven reserves of 1.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 220 million tons of oil and gas condensate.

Evgen Bakulin, Naftogaz chairman, said:

“The addition of these rigs to our fleet is part of our extensive programme to modernise our offshore exploration and production facilities. This will allow us to reach a new level of shelf development in the Black and Azov Seas, rapidly boost our oil and gas production and reduce our imports of natural gas.

“We selected Keppel FELS because they best met our tender requirements and they are a proven partner, having delivered two world class jackup rigs to us. The DSSTM 38U design is for us a new generation and cost effective rig with high specifications. We look forward to continuing this win-win partnership with Keppel as we grow our offshore capabilities.”

Jointly developed and owned by Keppel’s Deepwater Technology Group and Marine Structure Consultants, the DSSTM 38U design features the latest safety and environmental features. It will have double-skin columns for additional protection to machinery spaces in the event of a ship collision.

The rigs will be equipped with a 2000 kips drilling derrick suitable for 30,000 feet drilling depth.