Ocean Endeavor Completes Well-Planned Journey

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Early in 2014 the Ocean Endeavor was scheduled to move to Romanian waters, in anticipation of planned exploration wells in the area. But before any drill bit could bite into the silty sea bottom, the rig had to go through a series of carefully planned, perfectly executed steps to get there.

The mobilization phase of the project started in mid-January 2014, and some 174 days, 2,583 nautical miles and 130,000 man-hours later, the Endeavor commenced drilling its first well.

Typically when a contract ends, Diamond Offshore will relocate a rig anywhere in the world where it is needed next. In fact, contracts in recent years had seen the massive Endeavor towed from Singapore to the Gulf of Mexico to Egypt. In relative terms, this latest trip from Egypt to nearby Romania looked to be a quick and easy jaunt. But there were two very thin, yet very formidable obstacles standing in the way. 

Two sleek bridges soar 64 meters (210 feet) high over the Bosphorus, more than enough clearance for the world's largest ships to pass safely below. But the bridge designers didn't count on a seagoing vessel with an enormous pointed tip towering 115 meters (376 feet) skyward. To get the Endeavor underneath, the derrick would have to be taken off, laid down for the passage and put back up on the other side--in effect the most challenging limbo contest Diamond Offshore has ever attempted.

Breaking the Ocean Endeavor basically in half took a lot of careful planning. The disassembly approach began with reviewing how the rig had been constructed. Knowing that the derrick was built in three sections and the cranes go up piece by piece, the Diamond Offshore engineering team basically reverse engineered it.

The Ocean Endeavor was originally designed to work in tropical environments, so all the piping was exposed. To accommodate the Black Sea environment, about five kilometers of heat tracing were installed on the rig, and certain areas with a high concentration of piping and equipment were closed off. This was not only a good economical decision, but also makes for a cleaner rig. Important consideration was also given to the rig’s crew. The Endeavor was originally equipped with numerous air conditioners, but no heaters. As a result, 75 heaters were installed in different workspaces throughout the rig along with 14 tank heaters to keep potable water, salt water and drill water from freezing. With all this new equipment on board, eight power substations had to also be installed just to run the new equipment.

The Ocean Endeavor mobilization to the Black Sea spanned over a six month period and was the first of its kind in Diamond Offshore history. This is mainly due to the size of the rig coupled with the scale of the project, including the unique challenges of crossing the Bosphorus straight. A challenging project accomplished on-time and with no recordable safety incidents.