Kuwait may be one of the Middle East's smaller countries, but it has one of the largest programs of deep well drilling in the region. This is due in part, to a unique geology where the presence of a deep salt section at the beginning of the Jurassic age sequence has resulted in a series of highly pressured reservoirs and formations below.

Exploration drilling has focused on deep HPHT wells to search for high quality oil and gas from these Jurassic and Triassic/Permian formations. The rigs employed have high technical specifications (3,000 HP/15K BOP), which are under constant evolution to meet new challenges and to deliver improvements in performance and safety.

In 2007, Kuwait Oil Company launched the ‘North Kuwait Gas Development Project’ to fast track production of gas/light oil from Jurassic horizons in six northern oilfields. This project, plus increased demand for exploration and development wells in other areas made it necessary to double the existing fleet of deep rigs from six to twelve, over a very short time duration.

The new rig contracting process commenced with a review of present rig equipment specifications. An analysis of the operational benefits/shortcomings of the new concepts and technology features fitted on current KOC rigs was carried out. Lessons learnt were applied to the new specifications in order to develop rigs with a high safety potential, optimum level of automation and ‘state-of-the-art’ equipment.

Details of challenges faced during rig construction, mobilization and commissioning have been analyzed, including rig market conditions and those related to the securing of experienced manpower for efficient rig start-up.

This paper will discuss all aspects connected with specification, construction, delivery and start-up of the six new rigs. This case study will also focus on lessons learnt and conclude with recommendations on improvements for future new rig start-ups.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.