ABB Equips the Drilling Vessel Boom


2006-10-06 - Demand for drilling vessels is booming world-wide as oil companies search for new fields in ever-deeper waters. Of 24 new rigs and drill ships ordered in the past year, more than half will be equipped with ABB electrical, thruster and drives systems.

By Editorial services
The high price of oil and the low level of surplus capacity are spurring oil companies and offshore drilling contractors to search for new reservoirs in deepwater locations that were previously considered inaccessible or economically unviable.

The world's surplus capacity - oil that can be brought online within 30 days and sustained for at least three months - has declined by 75 per cent since 2002, to 1.5 million barrels a day from six million.

The price of oil has risen in its turn. Since June 2005, when the price first hit $60 a barrel, demand has boomed for semi-submersible drilling rigs and drill ships, with orders flowing into shipyards at the average rate of two a month.

About 50 percent of these vessels will be equipped with ABB electrical, thruster and drives systems. ABB's scope of supply includes complete power generation and distribution systems; thruster systems; and AC variable speed drives for the thrusters, drilling systems and anchor winches.

Steadfast in high seas

The drives and thruster systems enable vessels to remain in position over drill sites thousands of feet below, even in harsh weather and heavy seas. The latest generation of deep-sea drilling vessels is able to operate at seabed depths of up to 13,000 feet (approximately 4,000 meters).

For more than 10 years, ABB has been the leading supplier of power, thruster and drives systems to leading drilling vessel shipyards like Samsung, Jurung, and Daewoo.

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