February 18, 2004

Friede & Goldman gets patent on pipe handling system

Friede & Goldman (F&G) has secured a United States patent on its horizontal pipe handling system for self-elevating jack-up drilling units. US Patent No. 6,609,573 B1, "Method and Apparatus for a Horizontal Pipe Handling System on a Self-Elevating Jack-up Drilling Unit", was first applied for in November 1999.

In keeping with their historical effort to design efficient and cost effective mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs), F&G engineers invented a new pipe handling system that significantly reduces owner/operator's operating costs, as well as construction costs, by allowing for increased efficiency of the pipe handling systems and by allowing for rig designs with smaller, lighter derrick and drillfloor structures.

The horizontal pipe handling system, designed particularly for use on jack-ups with cantilevered drillfloors, allows the rig to handle significantly longer sections of tubulars, such as triples of drillpipe and doubles of casing up to 100 feet long. Prior to this, conventional jack-up units relied on pipe handling systems capable of handling only 30-40' length pipe sections. With the increased demand to drill in deeper waters, the newer jack-up units require connecting these pipes together to lengths up to 120 feet. In addition, these tubulars must be dismantled and laid down in singles in the piperacks before the jack-up can relocate. F&G's new horizontal pipe handling system solved the foremost problem of accommodating longer tubulars which results in fewer pipes requiring this connection and dismantling.

F&G's Horizontal Pipe Handling System involves transporting the tubulars from a horizontal pipe rack adjacent to a drill floor, such as an elevated pipe rack on a cantilever beam, to a vertical orientation in a set-back area of the drill floor where the drill string or casing is made up for lowering downhole. This patented system reduces the number of joints for making a drill string, thereby significantly reducing the cost and time of pipe handling operations to the owner and operator. F&G 's Horizontal Pipe Handling System is an innovative design technology sure to become the standard in jack-up drilling operations in the future.

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