April 7 - The Maritime Logistics department at Wilhelmsen Ships Service in Kuwait has completed the delivery of a major oil rig - RIG 161 - and its camp from Ahmadi, Kuwait to the South Rumailah Oilfield in Iraq.

The operation is part of Weatherford International's mobilisation for the drilling of 20 oil wells in South Rumailah on behalf of the South Oil Company (Iraq).

The 1250 horsepower land-based oil rig consisted of high, wide and heavy loads and was transported on an assortment of flat bed, low bed and towable trailers with 137 truckloads of cargo delivered in total. Wilhelmsen Ships Service Kuwait arranged for origin coordination, mobilisation of trucks, transit customs clearance and traffic permits. 

Meanwhile Wilhelmsen Ships Service Iraq provided destination coordination and escort for the cargo until delivery at the final camp site and drilling location.

The move was not without its challenges. Clive Figueiredo, commercial manager of Wilhelmsen Ships Service in Kuwait, explains: "The movement of the rig represents an important part of the reconstruction of Iraq via the South Oil Company's invitation to international drilling companies for several oil well drilling contracts in Southern Iraq. The location poses several difficulties for international firms to enter and set up operations in Iraq given the political and security problems and uncertainties."

This is the first major contract executed by Wilhelmsen Ships Service Kuwait for Weatherford, which is one of the world's largest providers of drilling, evaluation, completion, production and intervention cycles for oil and natural gas wells.

The cargo is typically moved in convoys of 10 - 20 trucks to secure availability of trucks from the Iraqi border to the job site as well as to manage any security risks. Wilhelmsen Ships Service delivered some of the 137 truck-loads of cargo within three days of loading in Kuwait. The company was able to secure enough trucks to dispatch convoys of up to 40 trucks at a time thereby shortening the delivery schedule of the rig whilst ensuring safe delivery of the cargo.

Wilhelmsen Ships Service was able to work with Weatherford employees to dismantle the original structures. These varied from 14 m in height and width to 175 tonnes in weight which are not easily manageable on the route to its final delivery location in the Iraqi oilfields. The entire rig was then able to be transported on standard flat bed and low bed trailers as opposed to using modular trailers at a much higher cost and longer delivery schedule.