Our most recent international survey began like a spy novel, collecting our passports from a courier at Heathrow airport and within 18 hours landing in Luanda (via Johannesburg) to be met by a small welcoming party and another envelope containing a one way flight on the Heli-Malongo internal flight to Cabinda, a small coastal exclave and province of Angola for a triple first for our Geo Therm Ltd survey team. Our first overnight stay at Chevron’s huge Malongo Base, our first Angolan survey for Ensco and a first survey on the towering Ensco 109 jack-up rig.
Within 10 minutes of departing Malongo Base we were buzzing the Ensco 109, a Keppel FELS KFELS MOD V B jack-up rig. Built in 2008 in Singapore, the Ensco 109 is capable of operating in 350ft water depth and drill to depths of 35,000ft. With an ABS class and IMO #8768323 this rig with its international crew are well versed to working safely and productively within sight of the Angolan coastline, drilling for the oil giant Chevron.
Our remit, to perform a temperature sensitive hot-spot Thermographic Survey on the Ensco 109’s electrical distribution system, necessary for compliance to the rigs stringent PM program to prevent downtime by non-invasively detecting excessive heat in energised equipment, a prelude of component failure.
Upon survey completion, a interim report and presentation to the rig supervisor concluded our visit and we were soon back on the sun drenched heli-deck to board the small six seater Bell 429 helicopter and back to Malongo Base. After three further flights and some 24 hours later we were landing back in the UK tired but full of optimism and praise to re-visit the Ensco 109 and this distant land, where the welcoming smiles and assistance were as tireless as the vivid African sunsets.