Super Drillship Begins Service in Gulf
Conoco and R&B Falcon Corp.'s Deepwater Pathfinder
ultra-deep-water drillship began a five-year work program in the
Gulf of Mexico. The ship, which is the first new vessel capable of
drilling in 10,000 feet of water, will fulfill a $400 million
drilling program for Conoco. The ship is expected to drill up to
four wells in its first year of operation, with the first
exploratory well being drilled at Garden Banks Block 783. Conoco
has interests in 295 deep-water leases.
The technological highlight of the ship is its dynamic
positioning system wherein a specialized combination of seabed and
satellite systems send signals to onboard computers. Six
high-powered thrusters will counter the force of currents, wind and
waves to keep the vessel exactly on target without an anchor, even
in weather conditions as severe as a 10-year Gulf of Mexico storm.
Deepwater Pathfinder is the only drillship worldwide incorporating
triple-redundant power and operating functions, which qualify for
the American Bureau of Shipping's DP3 classification - the shipping
society's highest standard of safety, redundancy and reliability
for dynamically positioned vessels.
Conoco and R&B Falcon are building a second deep-water
drillship with the same specifications that is expected to be
delivered in early 1999, about two months ahead of schedule. It
will operate on Conoco's deep-water tracts in other parts of the
world, such as the Atlantic Margin, Norway, New Zealand and
Joe Fisher, Houston
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