The first drill team in Kazakhstan

11 july 2012

Domestic drilling rigs will be used in the Caspian Sea

Alisa Meiman
Business weekly “Kapital”, June 21, 2012

The Republic of Kazakhstan possesses significant resource potential of hydrocarbon materials. Kazakhstan relates further development of the hydrocarbon resource base to the development of deposits on the Caspian shelf.

Offshore fields development in Kazakhstan is one of the main tasks of the National Company "KazMunayGas" (NC KMG). To accomplish this task there was founded a specialized offshore oil company "KazMunayTeniz" (KMT), which is a 100% subsidiary of NC KMG. The activity of KMT is aimed at exploration and production of oil and gas under the subsoil use contracts in offshore projects, effective and efficient development of oil and gas resources of the republic, the growth and further increase in oil and gas resources.

Since offshore mining operations differ in technological complexity and high capital intensity, KMT is interested in access to the most modern, advanced technologies and methodologies for offshore exploration and production, which will improve the effectiveness of all types of work in the long term. Moreover, work on the Caspian Sea are complicated due to a combination of factors such as increased sensitivity of the environment, shallow water, high reservoir pressure, a significant sulfur content in the produced raw materials.

At this stage, drilling operations in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea use different types of drilling rigs depending on water depths of the perspective structures.

Thus, stationary rigs are land-based drilling rigs of the North-Caspian project, located on artificial islands. Drilling barges are used in the construction of wells in water depths from 2 to 7 meters, the jack-up drilling rigs (jack-up) - 5 to 105 meters, semi-submersible drilling rigs (SSDR) — in deeper waters.

The construction of wells in the projects of the Caspian Sea offshore of Kazakhstan sector so far used various foreign drilling rigs. Today, the majority of available drilling rigs are already involved in long-term contracts in various sectors of the Caspian Sea offshore, and there is felt a shortage of drilling facilities for the development of the Kazakhstan sector.

Given the increasing pace of development of KSCS, there was also increased a demand for offshore drilling rigs. Because of the shortage of drilling facilities that meet specific process requirements, KMT is often faced with the inability to timely fulfill its contractual obligations regarding the construction of wells.

KMT, in order to address this issue in conjunction with NC KMG, holds a set of measures to establish its own drilling capacity. Working on the creation of the Drilling club, together with other companies - mining companies KSCS. Also initiated a work on construction of Kazakhstan's offshore drilling rigs. In particular, there has been completed construction of a submersible drilling rig (SDR) under the agreement between NC KMG and the Korean Consortium for prospecting site Zhambyl.

Modules of this rig was collected from different countries, and after delivery to Kazakhstan through Volga-Don Canal, and their assembly was carried out at production facilities in Shipyards of  "Ersai Caspian Contractors" LLP, Mangystau. This unit is designed to work in shallow water – 2.5-5.5 meters, with a maximum depth of drilling up to 6 thousand meters.

This year, it is planned using the SDR to build the first exploration well on the project Zhambyl. On the 14th of June was held a FDR naming ceremony with the representatives of the Government of the RK and the leadership of NC KMG. The rig was named Caspian Explorer, which means "The Caspian Researcher" or “The explorer”. The  SDR Caspian Explorer will cover the deficit in shallow areas of KSCS.

Operator of the Caspian Explorer is Kazakhstan's Offshore Drilling Company "Teniz Burgylau", LLP, a 100% subsidiary of KMT. As part of this project the first drilling crew is being formed.

In addition, KMT, with the support of NC is launching a project to build Kazakhstan's first jack-up rig (rig). The company "Keppel FELS Ltd." has already developed a Project documentation, which is agreed with the authorized bodies of the RK and the classification societies: American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS). The project will also be carried out by "Teniz Burgylau" LLP.

The main scope of the works for the rig construction will take place at the shipyards of Mangistau region with the maximum participation of Kazakhstan's resources. Completion of the jack-up is planned for 2014. After the commissioning of the jack-up rig by "Teniz Burgylau" LLP, it can be used for drilling wells on such sites of KSCS as N, Zhenis, Pearls, etc. There will also be discussed the possibility of using jack-up drilling rig to provide drilling services in other regions of the Caspian basin.

Caspian Explorer and jack-up rig of «Teniz Burgylau" company will enforce the most strict national and international safety standards.

Further development of the offshore drilling business in Kazakhstan will: ensure the timely implementation of projects, create new production capacity and jobs, through the development of related infrastructure. In particular, the establishment and development of coastal bases to support offshore operations, the development of transport companies, the creation and development of companies specializing in the maintenance of ships and rigs, new opportunities for companies specializing in environmental protection. In addition, expected a significant increase in Kazakhstan content and attracting advanced technologies and know-how.

All of this should ultimately contribute to sustainable economic growth in the region.

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