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Wed 22 Aug 2007 10:18 AM

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World's biggest rig hull sets sail from Emirates

Drydocks World Dubai's 16,300 tonne drilling rig hull is being towed to Norway.

Drydocks World Dubai has announced the successful construction and transportation of a colossal 16,300 tonne drilling rig hull from the company's UAE yard.

The hull is currently being towed to the Aker Kvaerner Stord yard in Norway. The announcement marks not only the first time a rig of this size has been built in a regional shipyard, but also the first of its magnitude in the world.

The major sections of the rig hulls, pontoons and columns have been built in separate units and assembled with bracings in the Drydocks World - Dubai yards. The finished hull structure is a massive 120 metres long, 77 metres wide, and 37.5 metres high.

"This is a significant milestone in our long list of achievements. Innovation permeates everything we do and the technology we are providing to our worldwide customers is sufficiently mature to tackle such projects," explained Mark Biggs, director of the New Building Division.

Manufacturing of the hull started in May last year, and it is one of two being built to DNV's classification standards for offshore construction, which require special steel qualities and strict welding requirements for the complete unit.

"Our strategic objective is to concentrate on high impact world-class projects. This is a result of team work and coordination, and there is still another hull being built to the same standards, hopefully it will be just as good," added Biggs.

The contract with Aker Kvaener includes the steel construction of the two hulls up to main deck, installation of piping systems, dynamic positioning (DP) systems, Mud Tanks and sophisticated hull and tank coating as well as extensive electric wiring work. Both are semi submersible drilling rigs, designed for deep sea drilling in harsh environment and arctic conditions.

Despite the complexity involved the hulls have been constructed and delivered on schedule. "We are very satisfied that the hull not only meets with the international standards, but also the first to meet them anywhere in the world," said Biggs.

The 16,300 tonne Alpha Aker Spitsbergen hull has been sent by sea on a 45-day voyage. The huge structure will navigate the Suez Canal on its way to the Norwegian coastal yard of Aker Kvaerner Stord. Once the unit reaches Scandinavian waters installation of the deck structure including drilling equipment, accommodation and final commissioning will take place.

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