NEWS FROM INVERGORDON
The Invergordon fleet, which
is the UK barometer on the state of the drilling market has been reduced
to two rigs, the Kan Tan IV and the Transocean Explorer and both have
their own special reasons for being there.
The Transocean Explorer is a
1976 built Aker H3 which had been modified over the years in line with the
usual industry practice but which was sort of left high and dry by the
1998 downturn. Almost literally because it was the first rig in at that
time and the harbourmaster took the opportunity of putting it as far up
the sound as possible. Its arrival took place before the amalgamation of
Transocean Offshore with Sedco Forex, and this combination of companies
has made an organisation which is so large that it is able to chose its
level of involvement in the market. It seems to have decided not to
involve the Transocean Explorer.
Kan Tan IV is also a casualty of the 1998 downturn and it was also
operated by Transocean Offshore on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of
Geology. At that time the Chinese judged that Transocean might not have
their best interests at heart since several of their own rigs
were anchored alongside the "Tin Can" as the semi is
affectionately known. They therefore awarded a management contract to Tor
During the Tor
Drilling era the Tin Can did not show any signs of moving from its
position close to Invergordon and so the Chinese decided that they would
change the management again. This approach has a similarity to the
activities of Premiership football companies when they see that their
clubs are not winning enough matches. Tor took the Chinese to
court in Edinburgh and won a large settlement.
the management of the rig was awarded in succession to Dolphin and to
Maersk contactors. Maersk Contractors are saying that the rig will soon be
in action again, or at least available for hire, although
astronomical figures relating to the cost of refurbishment are being
bandied about the oil industry watering holes in Aberdeen.