Transocean Sedco Forex drillship sets ultradeepwater record

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 9 -- Transocean Sedco Forex Inc., Houston, said Wednesday its Discoverer Spirit drillship set a world record for ultradeepwater drilling by spudding an exploration well in 9,687 ft of water in the Gulf of Mexico for Unocal Corp., El Segundo, Calif.

Blowout prevention equipment was installed and tested after the May 2 spudding, and drilling operations are under way.

The exploration well, on Unocal's Trident prospect in Alaminos Canyon Block 903, beat a record of 9,157 ft of water off Gabon earlier this year.

The Discoverer Spirit uses Transocean Sedco Forex's proprietary dual-activity drilling process.

It has drilled three deepwater exploration wells in the Gulf of Mexico for Unocal, in which the two companies used internal benchmarking to develop a detailed plan for each well.

Transocean Sedco Forex has a fleet of 50 semisubmersible drilling rigs (2 are in the final stages of construction), 16 drillships, and 55 jack up drilling rigs. The company specializes in deepwater and harsh environment drilling services.

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