Drilling/Production news briefs, Nov. 3

Transocean Sedco Forex � Santos � Unocal Thailand � Smedvig Asia � Det Norske Veritas � Statoil � Noble Drilling � Friede Goldman Halter � Miller Petroleum

Transocean Sedco Forex Inc. said Thursday its jack up Trident IX was damaged while drilling off East Java in the Madura Straits, Indonesia, for Santos Ltd. Transocean said the damage, which is apparently limited to the drill floor area, occurred due to "an uncontrollable release of natural gas which subsequently ignited." All 92 crew members were safely evacuated.

Unocal Thailand Ltd. on Thursday issued a letter of intent to lease Smedvig Asia Ltd.'s self-erecting tender rig T-7 for 5 years. The contract is estimated at $75 million. The proposed contract includes an incentive arrangement which could increase the contract value. T-7 is working under a 5-year drilling contract for Unocal Thailand until mid-December, after which it is scheduled for a 6-month, $15 million upgrade, including installation of heavy-lift cranes and a new derrick. Then it will begin work on the new contract.

Det Norske Veritas, the Norwegian shipping and classification bureau, has found cracks in the horizontal bracings of the hull of Transocean Sedco Forex Inc.'s Transocean Wildcat semisubmersible. Statoil said Friday the vessel, which was working on Statoil's Gullfaks satellites project in the North Sea, will be taken to port for repairs that will take about 2 weeks.

Noble Drilling Corp. has awarded Friede Goldman Halter Inc. a contract to perform design engineering for an upgrade of the hull of the Noble Ilion semisubmersible. The work for the upgrade was expected to be performed at Friede Goldman Offshore's facility in Pascagoula, Miss.

Miller Petroleum Inc. has completed the Tennessee Mining No. 22B well in permit No. 9522 in Campbell County, Tenn. The well, which was drilled to total depth of 3,002 ft, was treated and has been flowing more than 50 b/d of oil, said Miller.

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