The tailor made rigs

The worldʼs largest and most advanced jack-up drilling rigs are delivering very strong performance and outstanding service. The newest model, Maersk Invincible, has been tailored specifically to meet the customer’s needs on a five-year contract in the North Sea and has the flexibility to adapt to different tasks.

The jack-up legs of Maersk Invincible, at back, tower over the DSME shipyard and its workers.

The XLE jack-ups

  • The XLEs are the worldʼs largest jack-up rigs and are designed for year-round operation in the North Sea, in water depths up to 150 m (492 ft)
  • Uptime and drilling efficiency are maximised through dual pipe handling. While one string is working in the well centre, a second string of casing, drill pipe or bottom hole assembly can be assembled/disassembled and stored in the set-back area, ready for subsequent transfer for use in the well centre thus reducing non-productive time
  • The drill floor features Multi Machine Control – a fully remotely operated pipe handling system allowing all standard operations such as stand building and tripping to be conducted without personnel on the drill floor, thus ensuring a high level of consistency across crews and improved efficiency

The South Korean town of Okpo is dominated by its shipyard. And the long legs of Maersk Invincible give a commanding view of the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) yard.

The world’s largest jack-up drilling rig was built in 2016 and delivered on January 4, 2017.

It is designed to meet the needs of the customer Aker BP and built-in adaptability means she can easily adjust to different work requirements. The rig can operate reliably and safely in waves of up to almost 30 metres – the height of Rio de Janeiroʼs Christ the Redeemer statue and larger than could be expected even in hurricane-force winds.

“Maersk Invincible is tailor-made for the contract, with the flexibility to reach wells that other jack-ups canʼt reach,” says Frederik Smidth, Maersk Drillingʼs Chief Technical Officer, inspecting the drillfloor as workers put the finishing touches to the rig before she sails to start a five-year contract in the tough conditions of the Norwegian North Sea.

More flexibility

When jacked up to her full height of more than 170 metres at the far end of the DSME yard, Maersk Invincible casts a long shadow over the neighbouring vessels and even the surrounding hills.

Poster image
Watch the world’s biggest jack-up drilling rig 2:45

Building the next generation of ships and rigs

  • The XLEs are featured in a new Discovery Channel television series, which illustrates A.P. Moller - Maerskʼs energy supply chain and follows company experts and subcontractors as they design and build the next generation of ships and drilling rigs
  • Filming took place mainly in Denmark, Norway and South Korea and the series was broadcast in 2016

Naming the world’s biggest jack-up drilling rig

Maersk Invincible received her name in the vast DSME shipyard in Okpo, South Korea, on Friday. The last of Maersk Drilling’s four XLE jackups, she is the largest jack-up drilling rig in the world and will start a five-year contract with BP.

The cantilever – which positions the drilling equipment exactly where it is needed – extends out some 33 metres over the stern, giving more flexibility and enabling work that wouldnʼt be possible with other jack-up rigs. The pipe handling equipment on the drill floor is fully automated, allowing the driller to keep a close eye on the operation making sure everything is operating smoothly. The extra space on board means she has a very high load carrying capacity, and therefore less need for supply vessels.

“We looked at the basic design, took in the lessons about how to make it work better and added more features including extra accommodation, which actually makes her bigger than her sisters,” Smidth says.

All about the customer

The rig can accommodate 180 people, in contrast with the 150 supported by her sisters, because Aker BP needs extra space. In an industry first, power lines running across the seabed from the Norwegian coast will supply the rig with all its power requirements. The special size blow-out preventer will make it more efficient.

“She is going to be a beautiful vessel, and itʼs really satisfying to see it all working together,” says Peder Norborg, Head of the XLE programme.

The performance delivered by assets like Maersk Invincible is helping to keep Maersk Drillingʼs assets at work. Its average operational uptime was 98% in 2016.

“We have had the opportunity to learn from what went before, and then build this,” says Bjørn Frederiksen, about to sail out on Maersk Invincible as technical section leader. “Iʼm proud as Iʼve ever been in a group developing Maersk rigs, and now I see it becoming a reality.”