Modustacking Services document proper rig lay-up procedures.

Asset owners need to think beyond today’s layup to the time in the future, when the rig is ready to return to work. Without good proof of preservation, class surveyors, and charter’s acceptance surveyors will insist on expensive tests and inspections, many of which will be avoidable , if there is proof that proper mothballing was done during the layup period.

Some senior rig maintenance people, directors of Bangkok based Modustacking Service, Mats Muller and Harry Zonneveld have anticipated this need; they offer the rig owner a full set of properly documented layup procedures.

I found the Modustack guys during my researches into the topic of rig layup and mothballing. You can find my previous articles on this topic here at www.marine-projects.net. Mats and Harry are real rig maintenance people who know what they are talking about. Their ideas are such a breath of fresh air, that I made an effort to contact them and ask for this interview via email. (I have yet to personally meet them.)

Modustack Interview

Q: First of all what does Cold Stacking mean?

A: MODU out of service time is longer than 12 months
No skeleton crew on-board
No main power (Total Dead Ship)
Humidity (especially RH >50%) needs to be controlled with
de-humidifier equipment


Q: Modustack offer Owners a detailed system of record keeping and preservation procedures to mothball a modern high spec rig.
Q: – Why should an Owner keep detailed records of a stacked rig? Some will argue that this looks like just another expense. (Answer to be found on pages 16 & 17 of the Modustack proposal document.)

A: When a cold stack is completed and all personnel could be present rig crew is off and most likely getting laid off if the owner don’t have a position to fill on an operating rig and after 2-year cold stacking period the MODU is reactivated into operational condition at this time it is most likely a brand new crew standing on main deck that does not know how the unit was preserved or what has been disconnected.
A: When reactivation of the unit takes place most likely the Owner will have OEM service engineers to attend and they also don’t know what has been done during the preservation and most likely will tell the Owner all has to be open up/taken apart for inspection.
A: That is the reason with keeping detailed records on how it all was done and by doing this it will save on the reactivation cost.


Q: It seems impractical to totally cold stack a modern high spec rig for years on end. e.g. winch drums, engine gensets, mud pumps, and spools of wire rope need to be rotated every few months; VCI chemicals need to refreshed.

A: That’s why the Cold Stacking Pre-Task is very important when the MODU is still in an operating condition and all relevant VpCI products get added to various systems and circulated thru entire system to ensure all has been wetted with added VpCI product before arriving to the Cold Stack area and all getting shutdown.
A: The VpCI-product we recommend we have research for the best possible protection minimum 2-years
A: “Personnel that ModuStackingServices will provide for Pre-Phase.
1. Senior Mechanical/Marine Surveyor.
2. Senior Electrical Surveyor.
3. Senior QA/QC-HSE Surveyor.”


Q: What are the tasks of the QA/QC-HSE Surveyor?

A: In the Phase 1 when our +250 generic step by step detailed equipment procedure off-the shelf for a High Spec Jack-Up and +600 generic procedures for a 7th Generation UDW is getting updated against Owners actual IADC-list for the MODU that will be Cold Stacked, Workflow plan, Re-visiting plan and Re-activation plan is done and the QA/QC-HSE is our last link for approval of all documents before issue to Owner, Classification Society for review/approval. And we like to give a world class service to get it all right first time and not on the backside of a Tally Book.


Q: Initial Survey. Your document seems to assume a working rig ready to go into stack mode
– i.e. it still has a crew on board to do stuff like open mud pump fluid ends and hang off the topdrive/travelling blocks. Many owners will stack rigs without forthought, meaning that the blocks are still hanging in the derrick and the mud pumps are closed up. What would you suggest they do, if there is no crew any more? (I know this is not an easy yes or no answer.)

A: We are looking at A) Working MODU, B) Warm Stacked MODU.
Has a full working crew onboard and will be down manned to minimum required personnel for assisting in Cold Stacking and again during the Cold Stack process personnel will be de-mobilized. Based on equipment preserved.
A: Warm Stack MODU normally has Owners Key Personnel such as; OIM, Toolpusher, Driller, Barge Engineer, Chief Mechanic and Chief Electrician as a skeleton crew that are performing weekly maintenance on equipment basically ensure that all has been rotated. Owner can at this time get some agency crew such as Roughnecks, Roustabouts; Motorman’s to assist for Cold Stacking.
A: If no Crew at all use a respectable crewing agency to obtain crew.
This is not always the best solution since agency crews sometime don’t care what they do or how they do it since they are not employed by the rig owner.


Q: Managing Layups. Who do you recommend manages the rig during the cold stack period, the owner or Modustack?

A: Owner is the asset holder and therefor manages the MODU during Cold Stack period.
ModuStackingServices are available as Independent Third Party to assist Owner with verifying/documenting that the Approved Re-Visiting Tasks has been carried out.


Q: If a cost sensitive owner wants to watchkeep his own cold stacked rig, will Modstack have equipped the owner with the tools to manage the layup himself?

A: When an Owner uses ModuStackingServices they will become the owner of:
1 A complete set of ModuStackingServices off the shelf detailed equipment preservation procedures that been updated to rig IADC-list.
2 A Complete set of ModuStackingServices Re-Visiting Tasks for each equipment preserved.
3 A Complete set of ModuStackingServices Re-Activation Procedures for each equipment preserved.
If they decide to watch-keep the asset by their own crew, that is solely their decision.


Q: Are there many owners who have not properly thought through what is needed to mothball their assets? Do they admit this to themselves?

A: Our answer is Yes but mostly owners do have some sort of old mothballing manual from last market down turn tucked away in an office probably Revision “0” which never has been up-dated to match the newer more Complex High Specification MODU’s built since 2000 with so much Cyber Systems, Electronic Systems installed and it now becomes a big difference in Cold Stacking an older DC-driven rig than a newer AC-driven rig with all these complexed high tech systems.
A: As an Owner they also need to answer to the Board of Directors, Shareholders, Investors and Banks on how was the asset preserved when they asking for +++ Million USD for re-activation of the MODU again.
Basically when you have a Ferrari Rig you don’t give it a quick Volkswagen Rig preservation and call it game set and match since when they need to re-activate they paying +++ Ferrari cost to get the rig back to operational standard i.e. in compliance with Rules/Standards and Regulations.
A: Also what needs to be accounted for is at the current market situation Major Equipment manufacturers announcing big personnel lay-offs. Looking forward when the market turns around Owners that did a well-documented and executed Cold Stacking would have considerable less time cost to get back in drilling operation then Owners that choose not to do it properly.

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