Keppel FELS (KFELS) has delivered its 21st new build offshore rig for 2013, setting a world record for the most number of rigs delivered in a year.

KFELS held the previous record of delivering 13 rigs in a year back in 2009.

Yesterday, it delivered Arabdrill 60, a KFELS B Class jack-up rig, to the Arabian Drilling Company (ADC) five days ahead of schedule and within budget. The vessel will be chartered to Saudi national oil company Saudi Aramco.

"We set out to deliver 20 (rigs) and ended up delivering 21 rigs on time or ahead of schedule and safely," Wong Kok Seng, managing director (offshore) of Keppel Offshore & Marine (O&M) and managing director of Keppel FELS, said in his speech at the naming ceremony for Arabdrill 60 yesterday.

He said the additional rig for the year came about as a client, Floatel International, wanted delivery of its floating accommodation semi-submersible five months ahead of schedule as it was chasing a contract. "We said okay, with a few million dollar bonus, we are prepared to do that, and we did."

According to Mr Wong, the completion of 21 rigs in a year meant the company had to deliver a vessel nearly every fortnight and this involved about 45 projects going on at the same time, including repair works on other vessels.

"To do this, the yard had to be very well organised and systematic. We streamlined the building processes through new technology and equipment. We also developed an innovative construction methodology," he explained.

Mr Wong said that even though all 21 rigs were completed in Singapore, Keppel's strategy of using its vessel building facilities all over the world ensured that it was able to manage this pipeline of projects.

"We made use of the facilities to build certain components of the rig but they all came back here and we assembled and finished them here."

The KFELS B Class rigs have been developed by Keppel's technology arms - the Offshore Technology Department (OTD) and US-based Bennett Offshore - to enable it operate in water depths of up to 400 feet and drill to depths of 30,000 feet. Each of them is valued at about US$220 million. In total, they make up more than 30 per cent of the total jackup rigs completed globally since 2000. Demand for this class of rigs is strong; this year, 15 of them were delivered and another 18 were ordered.

Yesterday's delivery was the third vessel Keppel has constructed for ADC.