French drilling specialist, Societe de Maintenance Petroliere’s (SMP), has deployed its hi-tech drill rig, SMP-105, at Sasol’s development of gas reserves in Temane in the Mozambican coastal town of Vilanculos, Engineering News reported.  Once drilling in Temane is complete, the rig will be deployed, probably in mid October, to the Inhassoro field, where Sasol is hoping to strike condensate.

Drilling operation take place in a gaming-type environment, with the operator remotely controlling the drill via a joystick and touch-screen technology to perform vertical and horizontal drilling tasks deep below surface. The rig continually collects data as drilling advances and is connected to SMP’s command centre in France, from where technical support and trouble-shooting services can be provided, according to Club of Mozambique.

The rig is considered the most sophisticated ever contracted by energy and chemicals group Sasol within the region. SMP-105 is large, standing at just over 34m tall, with a power rating of 2,000hp. However, it is made to a modular design, which makes its assembly less daunting than that of a traditional rig.

In total, Sasol will invest $1.4b to develop 16 wells and expand its central processing facility (CPF) in Temane. The majority of the gas currently produced from these fields is processed at the CPF and transported along the 865km Rompco pipeline to South Africa, where Sasol uses it to produce electricity, fuel and chemicals.