Monarch on the move
THE oilrig anchored between City Beach and Rottnest Island will no longer disrupt sunset views along the coast after it embarks on its journey east this week.
Ocean Monarch, which featured in a Hollywood blockbuster, has been a fixed feature of the Perth coastline since late last year when it was anchored about 9km from Fremantle Port.
Moored by eight anchors, each weighing 15 tonnes, Ocean Monarch is set to embark from WA waters noon on February 22 before reaching a port in Geelong ahead of scheduled work in March for Cooper Energy in Bass Strait.
It was originally expected the rig would be in Perth waters for about 30 days but has instead been anchored offshore for about four months.
The 21,000-tonne rig, owned by US drilling company Diamond Offshore, had been working for BHP in the North-West before escaping the cyclone season to undergo maintenance while anchored in Perth’s waters.
Foreign Defence Minister Julie Bishop was on board the 1974-built semi-submersible rig this month for an energy market briefing, where she took selfies and celebrated the opening of 800 jobs in local rig operations.
The rig, which featured in 1998 action movie Armageddon starring Bruce Willis, was at the centre of accusations early last year that its operators were using a roster allowing crew to be in Australia less than the 183 days required to pay tax.
The 107m x 101m rig was upgraded in 2008 and can drill to distances of 10,668m and operate in water up to 3048m deep.
Diamond Offshore investor relations Don Murchland said the rig was scheduled to be available to commence between February and May.
“Arrangements and movements prior to those dates are outside the scope of our contractual arrangement,” he said.
The Times contacted Cooper Energy for comment.
Ocean Monarch oil rig has been anchored off the Perth coast since November.