Parker Rig 257 on its way to the Northeast Caspian for OKIOC
Parker Drilling Company and the OKIOC announced that Parker Rig 257 departed the port of Astrakhan, Russia " and is
under tow to OKIOC's first exploration drilling location in the Northeast Caspian Sea. The rig is committed to a
long-term contract for one of the most important drilling initiatives in the energy industry ".
The arctic barge rig was named "Sunkar" by well known Kazakhstan poet and Member of Parliament Fariza Ungarsynova in a ceremony July 2, 1999. The ceremony marked the end of a major modification project to convert the rig into the world's largest barge rig capable of drilling in the harsh environment of the Caspian Sea.
OKIOC anticipate that the first well of its exploration program at its Kashagan East drilling prospect, approximately
75 Km south of Atyrau, Kazakhstan, will commence in August. The first well is expected to take 4 months to drill
followed by testing.
This project is being undertaken by OKIOC, a consortium of international shareholders, under PSA with the Republic of Kazakhstan. The shareholders are Agip, British Gas International, BP Amoco, Inpex, Mobil, Phillips, Shell, Statoil and TotalFina.
The Kashagan structure is one of a number of oil prospects identified following a seismic survey between 1993-1997 by the consortium. Following that survey, the participating companies negotiated a PSA with the government of Kazakhstan to explore for hydrocarbons in about 6,000 sq. km of the Northeast Caspian Sea.
The barge rig, owned and operated under contract by Parker Drilling Company International Ltd., has been extensively
modified to operate in the difficult conditions of the Northeast Caspian Sea. "The project has been most challenging
in so many different aspects. We are thankful to have completed this phase of the work and look forward to commencing
drilling operations in August," according to Bob Parker, Jr., president and CEO at Parker.
Modifications made at Astrakhan allow the barge rig to operate in the prevalent conditions in the north Caspian Sea which will include shallow water, open sea conditions, extreme temperature fluctuations, ice forces, difficult geology and the expected presence of hydrogen sulphide gas. "Rig 257 is the most technically sophisticated rig in our fleet and is the only arctic class barge rig in the world. The rig and project form a strategic part of our business plan to be the dominant drilling company in the offshore and onshore markets of the north Caspian Sea region," added Parker.
The Kashagan Field exploration area is a nature preserve. Therefore, OKIOC will be meeting strict environmental
conditions, which include no discharge of drilling wastes into the Northeast Caspian Sea. Many environmental
protection systems have been integrated into the rig design, which is based on 5 years of study and research in the
Northeast Caspian Sea environment by a team of Kazakhstan, Russian and international scientists.
Drilling mud will be recycled or taken by barge to the company's marine supply base at Bautino. All cuttings removed during drilling operations will be taken to Bautino by barge to a state-of the-art treatment plant.
The drilling operations will be supported by 2 icebreaker supply boats and 3 tugboats designed and built for the shallow water and ice conditions of the Northeast Caspian Sea.
Parker is a Tulsa-based world-wide energy company specialising in barge and offshore drilling and workover services, land drilling, and specialised oil tool rentals. The company employs more than 3,500 persons around the world.