ABAN ICE – OLDEST DRILLSHIP IN OPERATION
The mid-water drillship Aban Ice operated and owned by the Aban Offshore based in Chennai, is drilling off the coast of India for ONGC on a contract running until 2020. It is today the oldest offshore drilling rig in operation.
The vessel first named Jean Schneider was built at the Ateliers et Chantiers de France in Dunkirk, in 1958. It was the largest ore carrier operated by the French company UIM. For a long period of time it was assigned to the transport of coal from the main ports on the east coast of the U.S.A., from Hampton Roads, Newport News, Baltimore or Philadelphia, to France. The Jean Schneider ended his career with U.I.M. in 1973, by transporting phosphates between the ports of Safi in Morocco and Antwerp.
It was sold to the Danish shipowner Lauritzen in November 1973.
The ore carrier was converted into a drillship by Hapag Lloyd Werft in Bremenhaven in 1974/1975. It was named Danwood Ice and drilled for Lauritzen Offshore until 1990. The drillship was sold and named Deepsea Ice. In 2000 it was acquired by Falcon Drilling and named Falcon Ice, then Frontier Ice in 2002, mostly active in Southeast Asia.
Aban Loyd Chiles Offshore, the largest offshore drilling company of India, today Aban Offshore, bought Frontier Ice in September 2004 and renamed it Aban Ice in 2005.
Capable to drill in water depths up to 2,000 ft Aban Ice, certainly meets all requirements to successfully and economically drill for ONGC.
It is a remarkable performance as much recent and capable units are sold for scrap: GSF Jack Ryan built in 2000, Deepwater Pathfinder (1998), Sedco Express and Energy (2000) or the 2004-built semi-submersibles Ensco 6003 and 6004.