Service exceeds expectations for China’s drilling rig HYSY 981

13 Jan 2023 Reading time calculated text

As part of the long-term service commitment between Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) MacGregor and its customers, effective professional maintenance ensures optimal reliability, timely response, cost savings and effective risk management.

The Hai Yang Shi You 981 (HYSY 981) repair and maintenance project showcased how MacGregor and its Shanghai-based service team successfully supported the customer despite unforeseen challenges. 

HYSY 981 is the first sixth-generation deepwater semi-submersible drilling platform designed and built independently in China, with a length of 114 meters and a width of 89 meters. It weighs 30,670 tonnes and has a load capacity of 125,000 tonnes. MacGregor’s scope of supply includes a pipe and riser handling crane and a position-mooring winch.

This platform is the world’s first rig designed for the harsh conditions in the South China Sea, where it completed its first drilling in May 2012. After 10 years of operation, HYSY 981 went back to a shipyard in Shenzhen for its first dry-docking.

The customer had reported that the slewing bearing of the MacGregor pipe and riser handling crane had excessive wear on the tooth surface, which caused noise during operations. The slew bearing had to be replaced to prevent accidents. 

Challenges and solutions

The structure of the pipe and riser handling crane is complex, and there was a limited set of spare parts on board. Therefore, the MacGregor Shanghai service team studied the crane drawings in detail, combining findings with the feedback received on a customer visit, and then proposed a detailed service plan to the customer.

Project execution started right after the Chinese New Year 2022, and the unexpected serious Covid rebound in Shanghai significantly impacted the supply chain. The first challenge the MacGregor service team faced was that the specific dismantling and installation tool required could not be delivered as planned. The team reached out to a domestic supplier, and together they found a solution to convert existing tools for the job so that the on-site work could continue.

Service teams often encounter unexpected mechanical problems that need to be resolved very quickly - this relies very much on engineers’ personal technical and resilience skills. One example in this case was that the hinges of the crane boom were stuck due to corrosion. Given the travel restrictions and the need to keep up with the schedule, the MacGregor service engineers and the construction team chose to make the support frame needed for dismantling and repairing the structure on site. This meant a lot of extra work, but the delivery time would not have been guaranteed if the tools had been obtained from a third party.

Success thanks to close cooperation

Despite the unexpected mechanical problems, supply chain challenges and an engineer shortage caused by the Covid rebound, the MacGregor Shanghai service team worked closely with the customer and the local construction team, proactively seeking alternative solutions to minimise the negative impacts of external factors and to keep up with the plan. They completed the project with an outstanding performance, which was recognised by the customer with a feedback comment “Exceeds Expectations” in terms of quality of work, behaviour and attitude. 

Key takeaways

In this case, OEM knowledge and experience, local specialists and site-based technical expertise played a key role in solving unforeseen challenges and resulted in high quality service and on-time delivery.

For complex repair and maintenance of large and mission critical equipment, it is highly recommended to involve the OEM at an early stage. This helps to provide a detailed service proposal with the sufficient and correct spare parts. This makes it possible to avoid economic losses caused by spare parts shortage and inability to execute maintenance work as planned due to unexpected challenges. 

In order to strengthen service capabilities in Asia, MacGregor has accelerated the internal knowledge transfer from Europe to Asian markets since the Covid-19 outbreak. Local expertise with 24/7 global support ensures the service quality and delivery, which are the cornerstones that support MacGregor’s customers’ effective and efficient operations.


This and further articles in our latest edition of MacGregor News include: