THE jacked up feet of a shallow water drill rig is dominating the skyline of Walvis Bay along with the four new ship-to-shore cranes at the new container terminal in the port.
The Valaris 109 shallow water jack-up rig recently arrived in the port where Namdock is preparing it for cold stacking and preservation. Even while dormant the rig will give a much-needed boost to the local economy of Walvis Bay.
“Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic — and its associated travel restrictions and lockdowns — there is a current decrease in oil demand, which has resulted in the cancellation of many oil exploration and drilling projects. Oil rigs and drillships, however, are high-investment, high-tech vessels which are expensive to operate, whether they are actively drilling or not. For this reason, the Valaris 109 rig will be stacked and preserved until the global economy improves,” the Marketing Manager at Namdock, Quintin Simon, said.
TOWERING ACHIEVEMENT: The Valaris 109 shallow water jack-up rig which Namdock is currently preparing for cold stacking in the port of Walvis Bay. – Photos: Courtesy of Namdock
The jack-up rig works on a jacking system, using its three main legs to lift the operational deck above the water and pinning her legs (or ‘spud cans’ as they are typically referred to) into the ground, providing stability despite lateral forces when deployed into ocean-bed systems.
“As a rule, jack-up rigs are not self-propelled and rely on tugs or heavy lift ships for transportation. Other rigs are built more like vessels and are moored with anchors, using dynamic positioning, to automatically maintain the vessel’s position and heading by using its own propellers and thrusters,” Simon explained.
He added very emphatically that the Valaris 109’s legs that stick more than 100 metres up into the sky have unfortunately been misidentified as 5G towers, raising concerns within the local Walvis Bay community.
“Namdock would like to assure the community that the company is in no way involved in 5G technology in any manner or form,” he said.
Cold-stacking involves the preservation of equipment on board to assure that the asset does not deteriorate beyond its current condition. The Valaris 109 rig will be cold-stacked to reduce costs. Prior to undergoing cold-stacking, all equipment on board will be tested and preserved by processes identified by the client.
Simon pointed out that during this time of economic hardship caused by the pandemic, the stacking process is “a silver lining in these uncertain times” as several employees and contractors will be kept busy ensuring that the preservation process goes seamlessly.
According to Simon, the Valaris 109 is due to be reactivated in approximately 8 months’ time:
“Following her reactivation, there will be substantial work required. At that point, this will have a massively positive financial impact – both on Namdock and on the Walvis Bay community as a whole.
This is the key reason we offer these preservation options to clients – so that – when the reactivation is required – we are close at hand, together with Namport, as the preferred service provider to undertake the task,” he concluded.