“Treat her nicely for she is an expensive lady,” Paul Bragg, chairman and CEO of Vantage Drilling, told his operating crew when getting ready to take the Platinum Explorer into operation in the Indian Ocean.
“2 September 2010 was a proud moment for me too when I was allowed to represent Aker Solutions during the naming ceremony and celebration of the Platinum Explorer,” said Terje Hoel, Aker Solutions’ project manager for the drillship projects TMT no 1, 2 and 3 (later renamed Platinum Explorer, Dragonquest and Cobalt Explorer) as well as the Odebrecht 3.
In 2007 DSME selected Aker Solutions as their partner for the design and supply of the drilling topside for their new series of drillships for the growing deepwater market. DSME had built drillships before, but this ship design was developed entirely by DSME, so all involved parties, including the owner Vantage Drilling, were highly determined to see this DSME designed project succeed.
Platinum Explorer was the first in this series produced at DSME and is now in the final stages of completion before handover to the owner in the fourth quarter of 2010. The drillship is designed for drilling operations at 10 000 feet of water and a hook load of 1 000 metric tonnes.
The drilling topside is delivered from Aker Solutions’ drilling hub in Kristiansand with major deliveries from other drilling related subsidiaries in Aker Solutions. Drilling risers are also provided by Aker Solutions under a separate contract, thus Aker Solutions plays a pivotal role in the success of this project.
The Platinum Explorer has become the reference for the following six drillship projects all containing drilling topsides from Aker Solutions.
Dragonquest and Cobalt Explorer will be some of the largest capacity drillships the world has seen so far with capabilities to drill down to 12 000 feet of water and with a hookload capacity of 1 250 metric tonnes. Dragonquest is scheduled for delivery from DSME in 2011, thus this will be yet be another very busy year for Aker Solutions’ personnel who are on site on Geoje Island, in South Korea.