China has put into service the world’s largest and most advanced deepwater exploration platform.
The semi-submersible drilling platform ‘Bluewhale 1’ is able to drill to greater depths than any other similar facilities. And was delivered to the client – China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Offshore Engineering Company, a subsidiary of the oil giant CNPC – at Yantai, a port city in Shandong province
The US$700 million (S$986 million) platform is manufactured by Yantai CIMC Raffles Offshore (CIMC Raffles). CIMC Raffles is an equipment manufacturing subsidiary of China International Marine Containers (Group), the country’s transportation equipment producer.
While ‘Bluewhale 1’ is an exploration platform, the world’s largest production oil rig is Russia’s Sakhalin-1 offshore platform, which weighs 200,000 tonnes.
‘Bluewhale 1’ weighs 42,000 tonnes and has a deck the size of a football field. Its height is 118m, or as tall as a 37-storey building.
The platform has a maximum operating depth of 3,658m, and can drill a farther 15,240m into the earth’s crust. It is suitable for deep-sea operation across the world, according to the official website of CIMC Raffles.
The ‘Bluewhale 1’ is designed specifically for the South China Sea, where untapped oil reserves can lay buried 3,000m and more below sea level.