As the offshore market, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, continues to heat up, news from Dallas heralds a new era of ensuring safety and efficiency.
ENSCO International took delivery of its new semisubmersible ENSCO 7500 from Friede Goldman Halter of Port Arthur
, Texas, marking the drilling rig's place in offshore history as the first to complete certificate of inspection requirements under the USCG Alternate Compliance Program (ACP), as facilitated by ABS of Houston.
Through the cooperative efforts of the USCG and ABS, ACP certification - initiated in 1995 but to date only used by shipowners - is now available to offshore rigs, said Lynnda Pekel, ABS project manager. "ACP provides rig owners with a 'one-stop shop' for certification, creating efficiency and improved reliability with fewer interfaces."
"The USCG's Alternate Compliance Program proved to be straight-forward, efficient and cost-effective, involving less paperwork than we expected. All the people involved in the certification process contributed to the success of the 'ENSCO 7500' project," a spokesperson for ENSCO said.
The ABS-classed "ENSCO 7500" recently completed sea trials and is under a three-year contract with Burlington Resources Inc. of Houston. The drilling rig is currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico on East Breaks Block 599 in 3,300 feet of water.
The drilling rig is ABS classed +A1, AMS, column stabilized drilling unit with a DPS2 notation for dynamic positioning, meaning the vessel can sustain a failure without interruption of its station-keeping capability. The rig has a drill depth rating of 30,000 feet and can operate in waters up to 8,000 feet.
To further simplify the certification process, ABS acts on behalf of the USCG to issue International Maritime Organization (IMO) MODU certification. The IMO MODU code-applied on behalf of the Flag State Administration-addresses additional safety issues and environmental requirements. The USCG requires IMO MODU certification for all MODUs certified under ACP.
ABS enhanced the value of the ACP process on the "ENSCO 7500 project with its vendor coordination program. ABS' vendor coordination program helps manage the certification process, providing a single point of contact for vendors and customers.
The vendor coordination program also helps ensure that equipment arriving at the yard is ABS-certified and complies with applicable Rules, standards and regulations. This effort, says Pekel, can avert delays on construction and assembly resulting from incomplete documentation or miscommunication on specifications.
"The ENSCO project included some 500 purchase orders from about 400 vendors. ABS' vendor coordination program helped to ensure communication among all parties for both technical issues and survey activities," said Pekel.