Financial advising firm Evercore ISI has released a new report on drilling technology, with a primary focus on Diamond Offshore / Huisman's "Floating Factory" concept – a highly automated next-generation drillship that promises to shave up to 30 percent off the time to well completion.
The high-tech concept vessel is based on the Huisdrill 12000 ultradeepwater design, which already reduces drilling time by up to one fifth relative to conventional drillships. The 12000 features a freestanding dual multipurpose tower in place of a traditional derrick. Without a derrick lattice, shipboard cranes can hoist heavy objects directly to the drill floor. It has an advanced robotic pipe-handling system, a deck-level drill floor, passive heave compensation, two splittable blocks and dual-drum drawworks, with a high level of redundancy.
Evercore says that the time savings achieved by the next evolution of the 12000, the "floating factory," stem in part from a fully robotic drill floor. The floor includes a casing running tool directly integrated into the well center and a fully robotic pipe handling system. Fully automated drilling operation also reduces accidents: 40 percent of all drillship accidents happen on the drill floor, Evercore says, and without a human presence the possibility of injury is greatly reduced.
In addition, increased storage capacity and more working room on deck will give the crew a greater opportunity to prepare and stage for future steps while drilling work continues. As classification society ABS puts it, the drillship will save time by "changing from one operational phase to the next and reducing transition times between phases by carrying out some of the necessary functions off the critical path."
“We understand the need to reduce well delivery times and improve economics to try to drive down the costs of offshore development,” says Diamond Offshore SVP for Technical Services Karl Sellers. “We’re rethinking designs and making enhancements based on input from customers and equipment providers."