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    Super jack-ups are the order of the day

    Vessel & ROV News // May 22, 2000
    In the last month, Rowan Companies Inc of Houston, Texas, and Maersk Contractors, part of Denmark's A P Moller group, have both ordered what they claim will be the world's most capable jack-up rigs.

    Offshore drilling contractor Rowan's order is for both the design and construction of what it claims will be the world's most capable bottom-supported mobile offshore drilling unit.

    The new rig, to be named Gorilla VIII, will be an enhanced version of the Company's Super Gorilla Class rigs and will be designated as a Super Gorilla XL.

    The Gorilla VIII is estimated to cost $190 million and will be constructed at the company's Vicksburg, Mississippi facility. Delivery is expected during the third quarter of 2003.

    Commenting on the investment decision, Rowan Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, C R Palmer, said there were numerous areas in the Gulf of Mexico that are too deep for existing jack-up rigs.

    Gorilla VIII will have 708ft legs, 134 feet more than previous Super Gorillas, and have 30 per cent larger spud cans, thus enabling operation in the Gulf of Mexico in water depths up to 550 feet.

    The Gorilla VIII will also be able to operate in water depths up to 400 feet in the hostile environments of eastern Canada and the North Sea.

    "Rowan continues to be confident in a bright future for technically superior jack-up drilling rigs operating in niche markets," said Palmer.

    In the meantime, A P Moller has ordered what it too claims will be the largest jack-up drill rig for harsh environments. A P Moller placed its order at Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea, and says the new rig will be significantly more effective than eventhe most recently developed rigs because of its size, efficiency and level of automation.

    With a leg length of 205m, the rig will be able to operate in water depths of up to 150m.

    Designed for use in harsh environments such as the North Sea, A P Moller says it estimates that the new jack will be 20-25 per cent more efficient than similar drilling rigs. The company claims the drilling envelope and variable load capacity of the newdesign will be roughly twice that of conventional units.

    A new feature of the jack-up is that it will be able to drill subsea wells in addition to traditional surface completed wells. Furthermore, says A P Moller, the rig will be equipped for zero discharge operation and will be prepared for drill cuttings reinjection. There will be accommodation on board for up to 120 persons.

    Delivery of the Maersk unit is scheduled for the summer of 2002.

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