The Business Case for the Self Erecting Modular Rig

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 15:43

There are only a handful of Mexican companies operating rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. This is mainly due to the lack of experience they have had in performing operating roles in their drilling contracts with Pemex. Grupo Goimar – a Mexican drilling company based in Monterrey with an operating office in Ciudad del Carmen – has acquired the necessary understanding through international partnerships in order to provide Pemex with operating skills and the latest technology for the NOC’s drilling demands.

“Our first operational experience was alongside Maersk Contractors with the semisubmersible rig KanTan IV, owned by Sinopec,” recalls Yann Kirsch, VP of Business Development & Strategic Planning of Goimar. With this knowledge in hand, Goimar was able to perform as operator for several drilling projects in the Mexican market for Pemex. These included a contract to operate four 2,000 hp platform rigs owned by China Oilfield Services Ltd. (COSL), and another to operate the semisubmersible rig Zagreb I, owned by Croatian company Crosco. “Due to these experiences, Goimar has been able to develop a team of highly qualified and certified personnel operating our fleet. We also provide privately-owned drilling companies with human resources for their drilling, and maintenance operations,” Kirsch proudly states.

By developing the experience and skills needed to become one of the Mexican operators in the drilling market and having proved its operating capabilities with the 114m COSL Confidence, COSL 936, and 106m Sandunga, Goimar is now looking to build a preeminent national fleet to address Pemex’s drilling demands. “We anticipated the need of Pemex for modular rigs since 2009,” Kirsch explains. “Pemex is still drilling in shallow waters, but its drilling activities have become more complex, therefore better drilling proficiency is needed.” To accomplish this, Goimar pioneered the idea of a brand-new, self-erecting, state-of-the-art, 3,000hp modular rig, with capacity to drill up to 10,600m, called GX-10. “We hired Houston-based Zentech, Inc. and invested to create the design, which was not only well received by Pemex, but also got the Inovatec award – handed out by Conacyt for technological innovations that boost business competitiveness – and with it a representative funding amount,” Kirsch points out.

The GX-10 will be competing with several other modular rigs in the coming Pemex tenders for drilling contract. “The advantages that the GX-10 brings are related to its self- erecting design,” Kirsch explains. “Normally, in order to put the rig on top of the jacket, you need a crane vessel large enough to transport or move the heavy modules. Our rig is 50tonnes per module, but since it erects itself, no crane barges are needed and this expense is avoided.” Goimar’s self-erecting GX-10 rig can offer both a speed and cost advantage over heavier rigs during installation. “The GX-10 can self-erect in 35 days. Although heavier rigs can be raised in a similar amount of time, the difference is that Pemex then also needs to spend on a crane barge to lift the rig into place,” Kirsch explains. “If we use the same crane barge to install the GX-10, it would only take us 15 days to do so.”

Goimar has been able to internalize its operating experience to provide Pemex with cutting-edge drilling rigs to satisfy its drilling demands. The ability of Goimar to use operating experience in combination with knowledge garnered of the Mexican oil and gas business to facilitate the creation of the first of many drilling rigs to satisfy the NOC’s demands is good news for Pemex as it tries to catch up on its delayed drilling program due to limited rig availability.