Noble, Shell Debut New Offshore Rig Design in the Gulf of Mexico

Partners Shell and Noble Corporation are welcoming the offshore drilling rig Noble Bully I to the Gulf of Mexico. It's the first of a new class of rig that its designers say will raise the bar for both safety and productivity.

They first thing you’ll notice looking at the Noble Bully I is what it’s missing. Unlike a conventional drilling rig, it has no derrick. Instead, it sports a compact, box-type drilling tower.

Shell spokesperson Kelly op de Weegh says it’s the tower that gives the Bully rig its edge.

“That multi-purpose tower allows you to be drilling as well as moving some pipe around and preparing for the next phase of the well simultaneously. And it also improves safety, in that dropped objects are always considered a safety hazard in the offshore industry. This Bully rig, because it really removes that threat, there’s just a much cleaner layout of the drill floor with clearer visibility.”

The Noble Bully I has just arrived in the Gulf from Singapore. Following acceptance tests, it’ll start drilling in Shell’s Mars B field, about 150 miles south of New Orleans. Its sister ship, the Noble Bully II, is scheduled to begin operations off the Brazilian coast early next year.

 offshore drilling rig Noble Bully I

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...