Reliability is key to ensuring the success of ‘jackup’ operations in the oil & gas industry. With this in mind, leading provider of offshore drilling units Paragon Offshore turned to global drive technology manufacturer WEG to replace the electric motors driving its B391 jackup rig in the North Sea. WEG supplied Paragon with 58 highly reliable W22 motors to ensure a smooth and safe jackup process even in aggressive marine environments.

Putting a jackup rig into place is an extremely delicate operation and even minor jacking-system failures can lead to structural collapse. Thus, it is vital to ensure that the motors responsible for driving the rig’s legs are highly reliable and able to withstand significant loads without any variations in current.

“The electrical equipment of the B391 rig is mainly US-made and built to National Electrical Manufacturers’ Association (NEMA) standards. Thus, to replace our old equipment as quickly as possible, we needed the support of a global manufacturer with a stock of NEMA motors close to our European facility in the Netherlands,” comments Duncan Smith, Electrical Superintendent at Paragon Offshore. “Having previously worked with WEG, we were fully aware of the company’s global presence and excellent customer service. With this in mind, we chose WEG for its unique ability to supply us with equipment to our specifications in a limited amount of time, which enabled us to keep our downtimes to a minimum.”

To ensure that all specifications were met, WEG inspected the old motor equipment in its workshop facilities in Belgium while the rig was docked in the Keppel Verolme dry dock in the Netherlands. Ensuring that all 58 motors had the same characteristics – in terms of torque and performance – was one of the key challenges that WEG was faced with.

“The jackup process is absolutely critical and if motors don’t run at the same speed allowing for variations in current or – even worse – one of the motors fails, the rig can tilt with catastrophic results,” explains Ademar Welter Júnior, Sales & Project Engineer, WEG Netherlands. “Thanks to experience in developing solutions for oil & gas and marine applications worldwide, we were able to supply Paragon with 58 identical W22 NEMA motors – 18 for each leg and four spares – with the exact same torque and performance characteristics. These motors have been designed to offer enhanced reliability and withstand the rig’s load with no variations in current, thus ensuring a smooth jackup process.”

Thanks to WEG’s support, Paragon Offshore has now successfully placed the B391 rig in the North Sea off the Humberside’s coast (UK). “WEG’s W22 motors are sturdy and reliable and have enabled us to ensure safe jackup operations. We’re expecting long service life and low maintenance costs,” comments Duncan. “With a flexible team, facilities across Europe and a viable stock of spare parts, WEG is ideally positioned to provide Paragon Offshore with that responsive and dedicated support that the company requires.”