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Oilfield Glossary
Oilfield Glossary
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semisubmersible

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1. n. [Drilling]
A particular type of floating vessel that is supported primarily on large pontoon-like structures submerged below the sea surface. The operating decks are elevated perhaps 100 or more feet above the pontoons on large steel columns. This design has the advantage of submerging most of the area of components in contact with the sea and minimizing loading from waves and wind. Semisubmersibles can operate in a wide range of water depths, including deep water. They are usually anchored with six to twelve anchors tethered by strong chains and wire cables, which are computer controlled to maintain stationkeeping. Semisubmersibles (called semisubs or simply semis) can be used for drilling, workover operations, and production platforms, depending on the equipment with which they are equipped. When fitted with a drilling package, they may be called semisubmersible drilling rigs.