KOC has been drilling deep HPHT wells from the mid 1980’s, and during this time the Kuwait deep well prospects have become deeper and more challenging. The rigs utilized to drill these wells have evolved over the years to meet these challenges, with new technologies being used to improve both operational and safety aspects.

Five years ago an enhanced rig type upgrade was introduced with the application of Top Drive, additional third 1700 HP mud pump and larger 5 1/2" O.D. drill pipe. This resulted in a step-change improvement in drilling performance.

In 2003 KOC began a project to look into the radical re-design of the deep rig specifications. Hamad Al Hamad and Partners was awarded the contract to complete the detailed design, procure and operate the rig, and National Oilwell Varco was assigned as the main rig construction contractor.

For the rig design certain new concepts were to be developed in readiness for a future campaign of deep HPHT exploration wells. These included the following; the rig should be safer and more automated, the capacity of the main equipment items and the mud system should be state of the art both in capacity and equipment specifications, the 15M BOP stacks should be re-designed to minimize handling, and the rig should be adapted for operation in the harsh summer conditions in Kuwait.

This paper will discuss the evolution of Deep Drilling Rig design in Kuwait, the design and specification of the new HAH-124 rig plus the construction/rig-up of the unit. The case study will also focus on lessons learned during this process and conclude with recommendations for future new rig builds.

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