China yard stops work on Prospector rig jacking systems

Ministry of Manpower SingaporeDECEMBER 10, 2012 — China's Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Offshore Co. Ltd. has stopped work on the jacking systems of four jack-up rigs, pending testing. The rigs, which are under construction for have a similar jacking system to that of the newbuild Noble Regina Allen which tilted December 3 during a jacking test at Sembcorp Marine's Jurong Shipyard, Singapore (photo at left). Eighty-nine workers were hospitalized following that incident (see earlier story).

The Straits Times Sembcorp Marine chief executive Wong Weng Sun as telling local media that initial investigations showed the braking system on one of the  legs of the rig had failed, causing the platform to slide down the leg on that side.

Prospector Offshore Drilling says that Dalian Shipbuilding was notified by Friede & Goldman Marketing BV to temporarily suspend work on the Prospector rigs' jacking systems, pending testing. F&G is the engineering firm that designed the jack-ups and which has supplied the entire jacking system through its own sub-suppliers.

The Noble Regina Allen is also of F&G design.

Prospector Offshore says that DSIC-Offshore had previously experienced issues with some of the components of the jacking systems of F&G rigs currently under construction at its yard, and was investigating the jacking systems before receiving the letter from F&G.

Prospector Offshore says it believes that these issues, to the extent they refer to its rigs, are limited in scope. It is cooperating closely with DSIC-Offshore, F&G and ABS, to resolve these issues.

The company's first rig, Prospector 1, was previously expected to be delivered at the end of January 2013 and mobilized to the North Sea for a long term drilling contract. At this time, says Prospector Offshore, it cannot estimate any impact on the delivery date of Prospector 1 until the evaluation of the jacking system is complete, which is anticipated to be within the next few weeks. Prospector Offshore is currently developing a number of alternative solutions to replace any components, which might be found non-compliant, and minimize any delay to the delivery schedule.

Bill Rose, President and CEO, commented: "We appreciate the prudent steps taken by F&G and DSIC-Offshore to ensure safe delivery of a very high quality drilling unit conforming to our specifications and the highest industry standards. The F&G JU2000E jack-up is a proven design and has operated in the areas like the North Sea, and we expect a quick resolution."

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