At the request of Maersk Drilling, MAN Diesel & Turbo and Doosan, who respectively designed and built the engines for the new drillships, have managed to optimise the engines so that they offer an unprecedented starting time for emergency start scenarios. The ngines can now start in less than 10 seconds – more precisely, in 8.5 seconds – which is extremely fast compared to the standard starting time of 30-40 sec.
The fast start mode will only be activated during emergency situations, i.e. during a blackout, when the rig must be back up and running as fast as possible. The reason is that a floating rig is dependent on the power provided to its thrusters in order to stay in position, as well as to maintain critical drilling operations.
Without power to the thrusters, there is a risk that the rig will drift off its position, which can potentially give rise to huge impacts and the risk of damage to the subsea equipment (BOP and riser, etc.), including the risk of significant financial impacts for repairs, new equipment and lost day rates.
The fast emergency start-up times have been obtained by optimizing and tuning the existing engine systems, i.e. the turbochargers, jet assist system, starting air system, governor control system and the AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) of the generator. Such an optimisation procedure has never previously been performed on this engine type; it was the Maersk Drilling project group which presented, required and drove the process of securing the improvement in engine performance in accordance with company requirements.