The Hand-Picked Rig

-- FROM THE FULL PICTURE MAGAZINE -- Sevan Marine, the company known for developing characteristically round offshore floaters, is launching a deepwater drilling version of its design with two lengthy contracts in Brazil with Petrobras. A carefully selected team of experts will be on hand to ensure the rigs' success.

The newly built Sevan Driller recently arrived in Rio de Janeiro and Billy Glover, Operations Manager for the Sevan Marine Drilling Units, spoke to Full Picture about the rig, and the handpicked team of drilling specialists he put together to break it in.

The highly experienced driller has broken in a couple of rigs before, and he has no doubt that there will be issues to address with this one too. His confidence in the team of professionals he chose to run the rig buoys his spirits: "I've worked personally with all the managers on this rig. I know what they're capable of, and I know I can rely on them," he says.

Success with the Sevan Driller is critical for two reasons. It is the first drilling rig built for Sevan Marine and its success will support confidence in the deepwater market due to the unique design of the unit; the company has earned its name developing signature round floaters for offshore oil production. Sevan has another firm six year contract with Petrobras to work in Brazil for the drilling rig – Sevan Brazil.

In addition to the faith Glover places in his people, he knows that the rigs are being equipped with technology from the top shelf. "That's why we chose Kongsberg, right? It's the best. That's the kind of equipment that we're using on these rigs, all of it is the best. Nothing less," says Glover.

From the drill-floor up

Born in 1959, Glover started in the oil business at the age of 20 as a roustabout in the North Sea. He worked his way up, filling positions on a drilling unit all the way up to Rig Superintendant during his 31 year career. In 2002 he started to work onshore in Angola as the manager for Ocean Rig's Leiv Eriksson for over 5 years.

"In September 2007, I was given the opportunity to join Sevan and took it with open arms. One of the main reasons that I chose to come to Sevan was the chance to work with its Vice President of Operations, Willy Tørhaug and Vice President of QHSE Dag Eggan. I'd worked with them both before in two previous companies and I have great relationships with them both and their professionalism and experience in this business is of the highest quality," says Glover.

On joining Sevan, one of Glover's first tasks was to pick a crew; this process took him two years. Glover said that he handpicked the crew from the best in the business. He had personally worked with 70 per cent of them before; the remainder had received strong recommendations from his own personal network.

All the managers and rig supervisors in the team worked with Glover before. This core base team includes the operations manager, QHSE manager, technical manager, marine manager, Subsea manager, operation engineering manager and supply chain manager. They have all been involved with various offshore drilling-related operations for up to 30 years, and have been involved for eight to twelve years in deepwater operations. These included new build projects and start-ups in operations such as Pride Africa, Pride Angola, Leiv Eriksson and Eirik Raude.

"The challenge and motivation for us in coming to Sevan Marine was the feeling of being involved in something new, something a bit exciting with dynamic, ambitious management. This is a new company trying to grow. We are setting up the whole system. We were given a blank piece of paper to write the procedures, build the QHSE system and make the maintenance system, and that's what we've been doing for the last two and a half years. That was fun, starting from the ground up, and being able to put your own personality into how you do things," says Glover.

A special rig

Sevan Driller is designed to include the most advanced drilling capabilities in the industry. It is also based on Sevan Marine's own patented technology that guarantees extraordinary stability and can easily withstand a force ten gale.

The unit has a capacity to drill wells of up to 40,000 feet in water depths of up to 10,000 feet, storage capacity for 10,000 feet of risers, a variable deck load of 15,000 metric tons and a deck area of 5,800 m², as well as high storage capacity of bulk materials. The Sevan Driller is equipped with an internal storage capacity of up to 150,000 barrels of oil. All of the drilling modules are supported by the hull structure, which is double-sided, including a double bottom.

Sevan Driller will normally operate with a crew of 150 and is fitted with a Kongsberg Maritime KPOS-21 and a KPOS-11 Dynamic Positioning System. The DP operator stations and computers communicate with each other on a dual network. Integrated into the KPOS 21 system is a Riser Management System (RMS). The Sevan Driller also combines the high deck load capacity of a drillship with the stability of a semi-submersible rig and has a transit speed 7-9 knots, powered by eight thrusters. The unit is designed to achieve higher cost-efficiency than its drillship and semisubmersible counterparts.

Operations in Brazil

The Sevan Driller will start operations with 58 per cent of its crew from Brazil, and the company is actively training Brazilians in mid-level positions. These will eventually replace many senior-level expatriates, who will take over positions on the second rig, scheduled to leave China in 2012 and already contracted to Petrobras.

In November 2009, Sevan Driller was delivered from the Cosco Qidong Shipyard in China, less than 30 months from the start of its construction. Sevan Driller arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday March 27 2010 after a 10,000 mile voyage from China. The ultra deepwater drilling unit has undergone customs clearance and acceptance testing by Petrobras in Rio de janerio and Macae prior to the commencement of operations under its six year contract. It has now sailed to Vitoria in order to drill its first well at the Campos Basin, in 1,800 meters of water. This first drilling operation in the Campos Basin is expected to take 160 days, with another 30 days for well testing. The Sevan Driller will then sail to the Santos Basin to start drilling new wells there for the rest of the contract.

According to Glover, the main challenge in Brazil (other than finding experienced Brazilian employees) is to have vital equipment in stock. Even though the main suppliers all have offices in Macae, they normally don't have equipment stock available, so they need to import it; this takes time and can have a negative influence on operations. "Another challenge is technical support, such as engineers from main equipment suppliers, but it is encouraging to see that companies like Kongsberg and AKER now have professionals on the ground here," he says. "Response has always been very positive from Kongsberg; you get to know who to talk to and the relationship builds."

Company history

Sevan Marine ASA (Sevan Marine) is an independent energy utility company founded in 2001. It is engaged in the building, owning and operating of floating units for offshore applications. Its operations are based in Arendal, Asker, Trondheim, Porsgrunn and Bergen, Norway and in Rio de Janeiro and Aracaju, Brazil, Aberdeen and Singapore. The company's subsidiaries include Sevan Production AS (100%) and Sevan Marine do Brasil Ltda.

The Group operates in four business segments: floating Production, Drilling, Equipment and Systems and Corporate. floating Production consists of the design, engineering, construction and operation of the Sevan platforms. Drilling consists of engineering, construction, hookup, completion and commissioning of drilling units operating in ultra deep water and harsh environment. Equipment and Systems consists of the provision of services and equipment to the processing plants for the Sevan platforms. Corporate comprises general administration and marketing activities.

Sevan Marine do Brasil opened up the first regional office at the beginning of September 2006. Located at the city of Aracaju, in the Sergipe state, in Northeast Brazil, the office houses the headquarters of Piranema Serviços de Petroleo, a company that will provide operational support to the activities of the Piranema, first production unit of the Sevan Marine Group, under contract to Petrobras. The Sevan Piranema is the world's first cylinder shaped FPSO and is based on Sevan's unique and patented technology.