[SINGAPORE] The world's largest jack-up rig, the Maersk Intrepid, was recently delivered to Maersk Drilling for deployment to the Norwegian North Sea. And, the more than 200-metre-long vessel was built by Keppel FELS at its shipyard in Singapore.

The Maersk Intrepid is the first in a series of four newbuild ultra-harsh environment jack-up rigs to enter Maersk Drilling's fleet in 2014-16. They represent a total investment of US$2.6 billion.

With a leg length of 206.8 metres, they are the world's largest jack-up rigs and are designed for year-round operation in the North Sea, in water depths of up to 150 metres.

The first three jack-up rigs, including Maersk Intrepid, are from the Keppel FELS shipyard for delivery in 2014-2015, and the fourth will be delivered from the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering shipyard in South Korea in 2016.

Keppel FELS began building the DNV (Det norske Veritas)-class rig last year. With a rated drilling depth of 12,000 metres, the Maersk Intreprid is well-geared to drill in ultra-harsh environments and can accommodate up to 150 crew in one-man cabins.

The development is another feather in the cap of Keppel. In 2013, Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) delivered 22 newbuild rigs, 21 of which were built by its subsidiary, Keppel FELS. This was a world record as it is the largest number of rigs to be delivered by a single company within a year.

Keppel O&M has delivered more than 40 per cent of the jack-ups to enter the market from 2000 to the first quarter of 2014. It has also delivered more than 30 per cent of the semisubmersible rigs to enter the market in the same period.

"Keppel and the Denmark-based Maersk are long-time partners. Our collaborations span the design, engineering, repair and construction of a variety of rigs and ships," a spokesman for Keppel told The Business Times.

Keppel and Maersk Drilling have joined hands to build 12 new rigs to-date. The first of Maersk Drilling's ultra-harsh environment jack-up is expected to be deployed next week to commence a four-year contract with Total E&P Norge.

The Maersk Intrepid will be drilling the demanding wells on the Martin Linge field development in the Norwegian North Sea. The estimated value of the firm contract is US$550 million with the possibility for extension of four one-year options.

"We are opening a new chapter in Maersk Drilling's Norwegian history. We have invested in the Maersk Intrepid and its three sister rigs in order to continue to grow and leverage our market leading position in Norway," said Claus V Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Drilling and a member of the Executive Board of the A.P. Moller - Maersk Group.

"The Maersk Intrepid is the first of the four rigs being delivered and I am very pleased that it is going to Norway to work for one of our key customers, Total E&P Norge AS," he said.