VESSEL REVIEW | Zhongguo Sanxia 101 – Chinese exploration jackup to support offshore wind projects

VESSEL REVIEW | Zhongguo Sanxia 101 – Chinese exploration jackup to support offshore wind projects

Photo: China State Shipbuilding Corporation

China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), through subsidiary Wuhan Ship Machinery Haixi Heavy Machinery, China, has delivered a new self-propelled, jackup drilling and exploration platform that will support the development of offshore wind projects in China, particularly in deeper waters.

The CCS-classed, all-steel Zhongguo Sanxia 101 (“China Three Gorges 101”) measures 48 by 30 metres and can accommodate 40 personnel. It can sail at five knots and can perform drilling operations at depths of up to 58 metres and even under Beaufort force eight wind conditions, thanks to an advanced dynamic positioning system. The drilling is done as part of geological surveys to help determine ideal locations for putting up new offshore wind farms in the waters off China.

Designed with a service life of 25 years, Zhongguo Sanxia 101 can drill at depths of as much as 58 metres. The drilling equipment consists of two fixed drilling positions and one movable drilling position in a triangular arrangement with digital assistance for the drilling controls to improve accuracy and efficiency. The arrangement of the drilling positions also enables the platform to conduct soil layer analysis and exploratory drilling at the same time. The drilling equipment will also be used for sampling, dynamic penetration, and standard penetration. A moonpool is also installed.

The main platform assembly is elevated and lowered through the use of an electric rack and pinion system with a lifting speed of 36 metres per hour. There is also no need to adjust ballast water during the processes of platform navigation and pile preloading, thus ensuring greater energy savings as well as reduced environmental impact whenever the vessel is in operation.

Zhongguo Sanxia 101 also features an advanced geotechnical laboratory, which will enable embarked scientists to carry out physical and mechanical geotechnical tests. This allows such tests to be performed at drilling sites, as transporting collected soil samples back to shore for analysis carries the risk of the samples being disturbed, which could adversely affect the accuracy of the tests that will be subsequently conducted. This attribute also means reduced fuel consumption over time, since the jackup itself or any other supporting vessels need no longer be employed simply to transport collected samples to shore.

Zhongguo Sanxia 101 is owned and operated by the Shanghai Survey and Design Institute.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on offshore vessels.

Zhongguo Sanxia 101
Type of vessel: Offshore drilling and exploration platform
Classification: China Classification Society
Flag: China
Owner: Shanghai Survey and Design Institute, China
Builder: Wuhan Ship Machinery Haixi Heavy Machinery, China
Hull construction material: Steel
Superstructure construction material: Steel
Deck construction material: Steel
Length overall: 48 metres
Beam: 30 metres
Maximum speed: 5.0 knots
Other equipment installed: Moonpool
Accommodation: Laboratory
Crew: 40

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