In mid June 2014 the acceptance test commenced offshore. During this test Maersk Drilling had to prove that all systems were fully operational and capable as per the building specification. This was basically a simulated drilling situation to come as close as possible to a real well being drilled. This included latching on to a dummy well head with the BOP and performing routine operations. Simultaneously with the acceptance test, preparations for the first well to be drilled was carried out. This included a substantial amount of client upgrades for the work ahead of us.
After three weeks of acceptance testing the Maersk Viking was accepted by the client ExxonMobil and commenced operation on the 9th of July 2014 on the ExxonMobil Julia Project at Walker Ridge.
The maiden well for the Viking wasn’t just any well. This was one of the longest to be drilled ever in the US Gulf of Mexico and with one of the longest and heaviest casing strings to be set, so there was no doubt we were in for a challenging start. As one of the clients’ supervisors said; “this is probably the most challenging well in my 35-year offshore career”.
On Thursday the 4th of December, just before midnight, the BOP was parked back on the beams marking the end of the first well for Maersk Viking. Looking back on the 149 days spent drilling the first well, our crew has been successful, with excellent safety performance, close to one hundred percent uptime, with all the equipment operating at a high level of reliability. This excellent performance straight out of the yard position put Maersk Viking at the very top of the Maersk Drilling rig ranking!
At the time of writing this, the crews have just finished the in between well work scope. This involves maintenance on drilling, general technical, marine, and well control equipment which isn’t possible to access during normal operations. The maintenance period was planned to the shortest extent possible, 10 days less than our competitors, creating value for our client. All this was required to be done before the Viking can move on to the next well at the Julia field. Simultaneously, a lot of work is being carried out in preparation for the completions work that will have to be done on the wells at a later stage.
Best regards from Maersk Viking.
OIM / Christian S. Johnsen