In 2011, Herrenknecht Vertical entered the market of offshore deep drilling rigs with the TI-250 Cantilever rig. Its design focus on process automation and hydraulic systems has demonstrated since then its superiority with respect to work safety and cost efficiency. 16 wells have been drilled or worked over in the southern North Sea until 2016.
Offshore gas and oil drilling is a real challenging job. Staff and technology are exposed to harsh weather while operating heavy equipment. The entire industry is also required to control and cut costs in a tough market, and observe strict international safety regulations.
Herrenknecht Vertical’s offshore rig design addresses two basic customer requirements: increasing process automation („hands-off technology“) to enhance work safety and reducing the necessary staff. Also, the design pushes the industry’s trend to replace electrical by hydraulic hoisting solutions.
Customized offshore design
The TI-250 Cantilever rig was developed by Herrenknecht Vertical in close cooperation with the customer, the Dutch offshore contractor Swift Drilling BV, for workover activities on existing wells and slimhole drilling of new wells in the North Sea. During design and production, a number of components were specially designed according to the customer’s needs. One major customization of the rig design is the fully automated horizontal pipe rack system with pipe boxes, which eliminates the need for personnel in the pipe racking area. The boxes are used to transport and handle the drill pipes and are prepared onshore, shifting costly offshore work to shore.
Final acceptance of the rig package by owner Swift took place in mid-September 2010, at Port of Kehl near Herrenknecht Vertical’s base in Schwanau, southern Germany, where the rig package had been integrated into the cantilever substructure. The cantilever was then transported on the River Rhine to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where it was mounted on a highly modern jack-up barge, the Swift 10.
Its first drilling location was 50 kilometers west of Den Helder, the Netherlands, in the North Sea, where it started with a subsea well abandonment job in a depth of 3,200 meters. The operation started on May 27, 2011 and was finished at the end of August the same year. To April 2016, an additional 15 drilling and workover jobs with widely varying depths between 138 meters and 5,275 meters were successfully completed.