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Insight

Pemex Drilling Rig Requirements

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 15:34

Pemex has very strict requirements regarding design, age, and capacity of all Pemex and privately owned drilling rigs operating in Mexico. These requirements clearly specify the different technical, safety, and quality standards and regulations that every jack-up rig and semisubmersible platform operating in Mexican waters must comply with. Semisubmersible platforms, which are floating platforms that remain permanently positioned with anchors or Dynamic Positioning Systems (DPS), must have the capacity to drill and finish wells of at least 7,620m, withstand winds of up to 161km/hr, waves of up to 12m, and ocean currents of 1.5 knots. Furthermore, they must have a drilling tower with a minimum height of 48.77m, a minimum capacity to support 604.64 tonnes, a universal crown of 500 tonnes, six pulleys with a diameter of 152cm each, wire slots of 3.49cm or 3.81cm, and a rotating table of 120.65cm.

Jack-ups are drilling platforms positioned on the seabed on three or four legs, and are used for the drilling of wells in water depths of up to 100m. Due to the limited water depth and reduced risk profile of drilling in shallow waters versus deepwaters, Pemex’s technical specifications for jack-up platforms are less demanding than those for semi- submergibles, requiring a drilling tower with a minimum height of 44.8m, a minimum capacity to support 498.95 tonnes, a universal crown of 500 tonnes, seven pulleys with a diameter of 127cm each, wire slots of 3.49cm or 3.81cm and a rotating table of 95.25cm.

Both types of drilling rigs must comply with several specific safety requirements, which include evacuation, rescue, and escape systems, gas and fire detection systems, and environmental protection requirements, including considerations for the proper disposal of toxic waste. Also, for both types of rigs, drilling towers or masts must undergo a complete visual inspection every six months by specialized staff members, and go through full maintenance service every five years. In 2010, following the moratorium on offshore drilling in the US, Pemex took the opportunity to increase the standards it set for rigs as specified in its tenders, stipulating that any rigs used on its projects must be less than 10 years old. However, after failing to contract the rigs it needed for its drilling program, these new standards were relaxed in 2011.