Diamond Offshore to upgrade Ocean Baroness semi

Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., Houston, said Monday it has awarded a contract to Keppel Fels Ltd., Singapore, for the upgrade of its Ocean Baroness semisubmersible drilling rig to fifth-generation capabilities for deepwater drilling. The upgrade is estimated to cost about $180 million and to take 18 months, including mobilization to the Singapore shipyard. The semi will leave the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days.


Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., Houston, said Monday it has awarded a contract to Keppel Fels Ltd., Singapore, for the upgrade of its Ocean Baroness semisubmersible drilling rig to fifth-generation capabilities for deepwater drilling. The upgrade is estimated to cost about $180 million and to take 18 months, including mobilization to the Singapore shipyard.

Diamond Offshore says the upgrade will create a "greatly enhanced" version of its Victory class of vessels. The semi will leave the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days.

Initial outfitting will include stability enhancements and self-contained chain-wire mooring for operation in up to 6,000 ft of water. The rig will have 6,200 tons of operating variable deck load, 15,000 psi blowout preventers, and riser with a multiplex control system. Additional features will include a high-capacity deck crane and significantly enlarged cellar deck area. And a 25 ft by 90 ft moon pool will provide enhanced subsea completion and development capabilities, says the firm.

Water depths over 6,000 ft are readily achievable by using preset taut-leg mooring systems, the company noted.

Larry Dickerson, president and COO of Diamond Offshore, said the economics, nature, and timing of this latest Victory-class upgrade will provide substantial benefits for the firm.

"The financial strength of the company enables us to embark on this major upgrade program that will reposition another of our Victory-class units from the intermediate water-depth range to the challenging deepwater arena," said Dickerson. "Furthermore, this latest configuration demonstrates the inherent capability and versatility of this hull design. We believe this will be one of the most capable and complete development tools available in the industry."

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