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Saudi Aramco Puts 100th Rig to Work

Source: 7/5/2006, Location: Middle East

Saudi Aramco now has an unprecedented 100 drilling rigs operating in the field with the addition of the renovated Saudi Aramco Rig (SAR) No. 101 put to task. A multinational force of drilling rigs and workers from Saudi Arabia, China, the United States, Italy, Egypt and India make up the rig count as drilling activities are ongoing throughout the Kingdom.

With global gas and oil exploration increasing at a hectic pace, Saudi Aramco has been orchestrating the arrival of more drilling rigs in the Kingdom. SAR 101 was taken out of service in 1999 during a period of low activity, and some of its components were used as spares for other rigs. Realizing the rig could be reactivated, a team of Drilling and Workover employees identified what was required to bring the rig back up and completed the work in-house, which led to its recommissioning late last month. The event was marked in a ceremony held in Abqaiq before SAR 101 began its trip to the field.

"More than 100 employees contributed to this project," said Mohammad M. Al-Qahtani, superintendent of the Drilling Rig and Equipment Maintenance Division. "It took teamwork to get this done. Our employees came up with several creative solutions for the challenges involved."

"D&WO employees have proven that they are determined to make things possible, especially with continues management support," said Masoud A. Ajmi, assistant superintendent of Maintenance Repair.

SAR-101 is the second retired drilling rig that has been refurbished by Drilling and Workover to take advantage of the latest technological advancements. The first was SAR-102, which was re-commissioned during 2005. A third rig, SAR-152, is undergoing similar refurbishment.

"Tapping our available skilled professionals within Drilling and Workover to take on this task has paid off," said Fahad A. Al-Moosa, vice president of Drilling and Workover. "It's nice that SAR 101 will be the 100th rig in the field, but it's just a stepping stone for the company. By the end of the year, we expect to have 121 rigs in the field. With global demand for energy soaring, and drilling rigs in short supply, Saudi Aramco is evaluating all options to meet our drilling requirements."

"SAR 101 is just one piece of a very big puzzle," said Neil Brown, superintendent of the Wellsites Division, which oversees construction of the well sites and transport of the rigs in the fields. "We've assembled a team from all over the world to get the work done. With exploration moving at such a feverish pace all over the country, it's really a challenge to find the amount of equipment required and deploy it in the field, which makes SAR 101's reactivation even more important."

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