Shell extends successful partnership with Gulf Drilling International

DOHA, QATAR - Qatar Shell signed a third agreement with Gulf Drilling International (GDI) to provide drilling rig services for Shell to explore offshore wells in Qatar’s North Field. The new contract covers drilling activities in the Pre-Khuff interval of Block D area, using its jack-up drilling rig AL-KHOR.

The contract was signed by Shell’s Executive Vice President, Wael Sawan and GDI’s Chief Executive Officer, Ibrahim J. Al-Othman.

Wael Sawan, Executive Vice President, Qatar Shell, said: ‘The partnership between Shell and GDI has been enormously successful and we are proud that we have been able to support them through their journey of operational excellence. In terms of performance, GDI has seen a demonstrable improvement curve making them one of the most efficient drilling operations in Shell’s global drilling activities. I am very pleased that a Qatari based drilling company is able to provide world-class service to our exploration operation in the country’.

Ibrahim J. Al-Othman said ’Our original contract with Shell was viewed as a proving ground for our performance and a stepping stone to a brighter future. Through hard work and synergy with Shell, we have lifted our performance to a world-class level. Al-KHOR’s award last year as the ‘Most Improved Rig’ in Shell’s global rig ranking, is a testament to the progress that has been made. The new contract is a confirmation of the confidence that Shell has in GDI’.

The improvement in GDI’s operational performance stems from a clear focus on respect and care for people. This has created an industry leading HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) culture and operational progress beyond expectations. The partnership has been instrumental in initiating and supporting cross industry improvement initiatives in Qatar in the areas of logistics, Dropped Object Prevention and will also cover Wells Process Safety.

GDI and Qatar Shell have worked closely together for the last two years. This is part of Qatar Shell’s commitment to supporting the country’s vision of building local capacities and unlocking human potential. These partnerships ensure that local Qatari companies acquire world-class knowledge, skills, and experience needed to compete and succeed both locally and globally.

The Al-Khor is GDI’s forth offshore and first new built rig, delivered from Keppel Fels shipyard in December 2006. By putting it into operation early 2007, it was GDI’s first cyber rig – at that time the 2nd such unit in the Arabian Gulf, of the popular Model VB design. This rig was bigger, more modern and more capable than any of the rigs which GDI was using. It allowed a GDI company to compete for almost any work in Qatar and was build to serve Qatar’s future exploration activity. Though the Al-Khor has been drilling appraisal wells since two years, this contract actually realizes the strategic depth that was built into the mix of rig fleet design. It was also a testament to foresight of GDI’s business plan which envisioned increased use of big rigs in the future environment. We anticipated the startup of exploration work, greater need for long reach horizontal wells and advantages of an increased cantilever outreach providing a wider drilling envelope when jacked-up against a platform.

About Block D

On 16 May 2010, Qatar Petroleum (QP) on behalf of the Government of the State of Qatar signed a new Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) with Shell and PetroChina Company Limited (PetroChina) for Qatar Block D.  Under the agreement, the partners will jointly explore for natural gas in Block D.  Block D covers an area of 8,089 square kilometers onshore and offshore Qatar and is located close to Ras Laffan.  The Block D concession is for the pre-Khuff geological intervals.  The total term of this agreement is 30 years and starts a five year first exploration period.  During the exploration period, Shell and PetroChina will implement a work programme including exploration technical studies, 2D and 3D seismic acquisition, processing, re-processing and interpretation, and drilling a number of exploration wells to the pre-Khuff formation.

About Qatar Shell

Shell is one of the largest foreign investors in Qatar investing up to $21 billion in the last 6 years. Qatar Petroleum and Shell delivered two of the largest energy projects in the world in Ras Laffan Industrial City. Pearl Gas to Liquids (GTL) is the world’s largest GTL plant and cements Qatar’s position as the GTL capital of the world. At an investment of $ 18 – 19 billion it is the largest single investment in the Shell Group’s global portfolio.

The Qatargas 4 Liquefied Natural Gas project (QP (70%) and Shell (30%)) combines Shell’s global leadership in LNG with Qatar’s position as the world’s largest LNG supplier.

Shell has established a world-class research and development facility and a learning centre, the Qatar Shell Research & Technology Centre, at the Qatar Science & Technology Park. Shell has a financial commitment to invest up to $100 million on programmes at the Centre over a 10-year period.

In 2010, Shell and PetroChina signed an agreement with QP to explore in the pre-Khuff interval in Block D. In December 2011 Shell and QP signed a HOA to jointly develop a world-class petrochemicals complex in Ras Laffan Industrial City.