MANAMA, Bahrain, December 06, 2003 -- After 12 weeks at a Bahrain shipyard, Saudi Aramco's offshore rig SAR-201 is back at work at the Safaniya field.
Probably the most noticeable upgrade made during the refitting is a new crane with a 120-foot boom and a 60-ton capacity, which replaced a 100-foot, 20-ton capacity unit. The new crane expands the rig's abilities as well as significantly increasing safety.
SAR-201 also was equipped with a new fleet of lifeboats and launching gear, raising the emergency evacuation capability of the rig by more than 25 percent to 120 people.
Saudi Aramco employees added their own idea to the rig with a blowout preventer transfer platform that will save both time and money each time the rig has to replace a blowout preventer.
In addition to these major improvements, much of the equipment underwent inspection and maintenance work, including parts replacement, overhauls, hull repairs and recoating of the jacking legs and the derrick.
As shipyard workers completed many of these improvements, SAR-201's own crew kept busy working on the upgrade of the usually inaccessible jacking system intermediate gears, increasing the rig's jacking capability by more than 8 percent.
In fact, SAR-201 completed all 2003 and 2004 inspection requirements of the American Bureau of Shipping during the refitting.
Although visitors to Bahrain may have noticed an offshore rig that looked like new as it left the shipyards, they may have missed the true significance of the improvements - a rig with improved capabilities for more efficient and much safer operation.