First one: The Naga 2 oil rig looms ahead. It is Drydocks' first, and it has been launched into the sea. Coming up close by is the second rig, which is nearing completion. Photo by Leong Chan Teik

MD Mark Biggs answers media queries about the Graha yard. Photo by Leong Chan Teik.

SIX OILRIGS are under construction at Drydocks World – Graha, which bustled with activity when NextInsight and journalists from other media visited the rigbuilding yard of Drydocks World this week.

Drydocks World is the collective name for maritime build and repair businesses owned by UAE state Dubai’s investment arm Dubai World.

”There are still enquiries from the Middle East, Northern Europe and South America for new offshore rigs,” said Mr Mark Biggs, managing director of Drydocks World – Graha.

The yard’s second jackup rig, Hull L202 Perro Negro 6, was successfully launched into the water last month, and is now into its final months of construction before delivery in mid-2009.

It is a new generation MSC CJ46 X100D mobile offshore drilling rig with the capability of drilling at 350 feet to 30,000 feet under water.
1st offshore rig launched was Naga 2 (left, yellow highlight) and 2nd was Perro Negro (right, blue highlight). Photo by Sim Kih

It one of four identical rigs Drydocks World - Graha is building for Standard Drilling ASA. 

Of the four, the first and fourth units were sold to Milan-listed Saipem. 

Standard will co-own the other two units with Malaysia's UMW Holdings.

The first of the four jack-ups, Naga 2, struck steel (commenced building) in Aug 2006 and is scheduled for delivery at the end of 2008.

The 5th and 6th offshore drilling rigs under construction are GustoMSC design sea jacks for Master Marine ASA.

Current asking prices for a jack-up hover at US$200 million, but Mr Biggs concedes that the financing crunch may delay the time it now takes to strike a newbuilding deal.

Marine Structure Consultants (MSC) is a reputable designer of a vast range of offshore drilling equipment. Photo by Sim Kih

How does a Jack-up rig work?

Jack-ups, as the name suggests, are platforms that can be jacked up above the sea using legs, which can be lowered like jacks (device for lifting heavy objects).

These platforms are typically used in water depths up to 400 feet (120 m). 

AHTS contain tug-boat propellers and are used to tow jack-up rigs to the drilling location.

During transportation, the jack-up rig’s legs are up and its barge section floats on the water.

Upon arrival at the drilling location, the legs are jacked down onto the seafloor.

Of the 700-odd offshore drilling rigs in service today documented by, over half are jack-ups.

The rest are drillships, semi-submersibles, submersibles and drilling barges.

There is oil in shallow water, says Mark Biggs. Above: relative drilling depths of different rig classifications.

From the Persian Gulf’s largest shipyard to Indonesia
Mark Biggs left school at 15 to join the UK Navy. He was appointed MD of Nanindah and Graha in Feb 2008. Photo by Sim Kih

Mr Biggs, who also overseas Nanindah (the other former Labroy yard), was at Drydocks World – Dubai for 9 years prior to Labroy’s takeover by the UAE state.

Drydocks World – Dubai, which has been around for about 25 years, sits on 87 hectares, employs some 13,000 workers and is the only large shipyard and vessel repair facility in the Persian Gulf.

The facility focuses on ship repair and vessel conversion.  It has 3 ULCC graving docks, the largest of which can accommodate of vessels up to one million dwt.

For now, Mr Biggs has transformed the empty plot of land that the Graha yard was at the point of takeover into 49 hectares of modern facilities for building one of the world’s most sophisticated offshore vessels.

Some US$18 million of capital expenditure are in the cards to upgrade and add equipment to the Graha yard in 2009, plus another US$15 million for Nanindah.
Mark Biggs explaining the yard layout. Photo by Leong Chan Teik

We took a drive through the Nanindah yard – a 53-hectare yard specializing in transportation vessels - and observed numerous vessels under construction, ranging from anchor handling tug supply vessels (AHTS), tugs & barges to livestock carriers.

Another S$4 million put into a school to train offshore fabricators will break ground this December on the 21st. 

Unlike Keppel FELS or SembCorp Marine, which rely heavily on sub-contractors, Drydocks World’s policy is to maintain permanent yard workers.  Including supervisors, these come up to some 20,000 workers on its four Southeast Asian yards - Drydocks World – Graha, Nanindah, Pertama and Singapore.

Other than yard upgrade, the Middle Eastern company is also mindful of its share of corporate social responsibility across the globe.  It is building a medical clinic, a school and a sporting facility for workers and other Batam residents.

Related stories:

27 Oct 2008DRYDOCKS WORLD: Adds 174 ha to former Pan-U and Labroy yards
2 Oct 2008DRYDOCKS WORLD: Safety first in shipyards
7 Aug 2008DRYDOCKS WORLD SEA delivers AHTS to Esnaad
11 Jul 2008DRYDOCKS WORLD (formerly Labroy Marine): Scoring a few firsts

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