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Motors drive safe ‘jackup’ operations in the North Sea

Motors drive safe ‘jackup’ operations in the North Sea

Reliability is key to ensuring the success of ‘jackup’ operations in the oil & gas industry. With this in mind, leading provider of offshore drilling units Paragon Offshore turned to WEG to replace the electric motors driving its B391 jackup rig in the North Sea. WEG supplied Paragon with 58 highly reliable and energy efficient W22 motors to ensure a smooth and safe jackup process even in aggressive marine environments.

A jackup rig is a type of self-elevating mobile platform consisting of a number of movable legs, which are designed to raise the hull over the surface of the sea. A buoyant hull transports the rig and all attached machinery to a desired location, where the legs are lowered and anchored to the sea bed and the hull is raised to the required elevation above the sea surface. Putting a jackup rig into place is an extremely delicate operation and even minor jacking-system failures can lead to structural collapse. Thus, it is vital to ensure that the motors responsible for driving the rig’s legs are highly reliable and able to withstand significant loads without any variations in current. This challenge adds to the aggressive environmental conditions in which jackup oil rigs like Paragon’s B391 operate. With the most easily accessed oil fields becoming exhausted, offshore operators are now moving towards new fields – often in deeper waters and under higher temperatures and pressures – where essential equipment such as electric motors are put to the test. 

In addition, with oil prices down to a minimum there is a need for offshore companies to operate as efficiently as possible and keep running costs down. So, it comes as no surprise that companies like Paragon are looking at replacing older equipment with sturdier, more energy efficient, reliable and durable equipment, which can ensure a long service life even in the most aggressive environmental conditions. 

Yet, to bring costly downtimes to a minimum, ensuring quick replacement operations is also top of the agenda. With this in mind, when it came to replacing the motors driving the three 110 metre long jackup legs of its B391 rig – which is designed to reach drilling depths of 20,000 feet (6,000 metres) – Paragon decided to partner with WEG. Thanks to WEG’s support, Paragon Offshore has now successfully placed the B391 rig in the North Sea off the Humberside’s coast.

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