Transocean’s Deepwater Frontier first began operation in 1999 as one of a triumvirate of ships that were capable of working in water as deep as 10,000 feet. The other two ships, the Pathfinder and Millenium were sandwiched around the Frontier’s arrival, respectively.
Built at the Samsung Heavy Industries plant at a shipyard in Kyungnam, South Korea, both the Frontier and Pathfinder were built as part of a joint venture with ConocoPhillips, with Transocean providing 60 percent of the funds. In 2003, Transocean gained complete ownership by purchasing the 40 percent interest held by ConocoPhillips.
The Frontier possesses a gross tonnage of 60,083 tons, a deadweight tonnage of 73,675 tons and a capacity of 1,000 tons. It has a length of 726 feet, a breadth of 137 feet and a depth of 66 feet, with a maximum drilling depth of 30,000 feet.
Possessing the ability to accommodate up to 160 people, the Frontier also has a dynamic positioning system in place that allows for greater safety. The computer-based system allows the thrusters to engage and work with mooring to keep a vessel in place. By itself, the dynamic positioning option can help easily remove the vessel from dangerous weather conditions that may develop.
In December 2010, the ship broke new ground by becoming the first to drill a well offshore the small independent state of Timor Leste, just outside of Indonesia.
Due to the virtual collapse of the oil market that began in mid-2014, the Frontier is currently idle. No timeline has been given as to when operations are expected to resume.