The recent upturn in drilling activity is driving increased demand for offshore rigs. As the supply and availability of working, or “hot” rigs dwindles, the need to reactivate cold or warm stacked rigs rises. There is a significant difference in the approaches required to employ a working rig versus reactivating a stacked rig. It has been at least a decade since we’ve seen this level of demand for rig reactivations. Consequently, the unique skills necessary to understand these differences and execute a successful acceptance of a reactivated rig are in equally short supply.
The success of a reactivation project is highly dependent on the quality of the stacking (deactivation) and the effectiveness of the reactivation plan. The stacking plan hopefully prepared the vessel for long term storage and accounted for a maintenance plan that ensured the equipment remained in good working order for an expedited restart. The execution of the stacking plan, and the records of routine maintenance activity during the stacking period should be reviewed and verified. For example – was the rotating machinery rotated on an OEM-approved schedule to prevent motor shafts from warping?
The reactivation plan should consider the onboarding and training of new crews for operations and maintenance, and any equipment updates or upgrades that must be made. For example, systems obsolescence could occur when control software and computers go beyond their OEM support dates or spare parts become unobtainable for older equipment. In the worst case, the systems were cannibalized or otherwise used as a source of spare parts for operating rigs. If not recognized early and properly managed, the time and effort required to obtain replacement equipment or to update obsolete systems could cause significant delays in reactivation.
Following a successful reactivation, an acceptance plan can be executed. That acceptance plan must also be tailored for a reactivated rig. A working rig has a performance history that can be reviewed to establish the probability that the rig will continue to operate at a particular performance level. A reactivated rig lacks a sufficient useable history of safe operation by a competent crew for the equipment and systems. Until the crew is back on board, the equipment is operational, and the maintenance plan has transitioned from nonoperational to operations, it is extremely difficult to make a reliable determination as to the suitability of the rig. This means the verifier would need to see a more comprehensive live test of the equipment and crew to be confident the system is suitable. As a result, an acceptance survey of a reactivated rig requires additional time and effort due to increased pre-acceptance prep time and the need to apply more rigorous verification during acceptance.
As demand for drilling rigs increases and stacked rigs are reactivated, be sure you are working with an inspection company with the experience and approach necessary to meet this challenge. Athens Group Services has the test and acceptance engineering experience to design and execute a reactivated rig acceptance program which can estimate the time and effort required to make a stacked rig ready for the acceptance work scope. Once that rig is ready, our integrated systems test engineering acceptance plans are tailored to both operator requirements and the unique verification requirements of a rig, hot or cold.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you can better ensure the success of your rig reactivation programs.