Alcoa Looks to Commercialize Aluminum Riser System for Oil Rigs

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today that it has signed a development agreement with Cameron to commercialize aluminum drilling riser systems for offshore oil and gas exploration and development. Houston-based Cameron markets and develops various products for the oil and gas market and is a market leader in the offshore drilling risers business. Alcoa is an expert in aluminum technology and the design and manufacture of aluminum products. The two companies will combine their expertise and collaborate on research and development projects to broaden the market for aluminum drilling riser systems.

The lightweight aluminum riser system will extend the capability of existing drilling vessels allowing exploration in deeper depths of 20% or more versus conventional steel risers. Welded aluminum risers weigh nearly 40% less than steel risers and require up to 40% less buoyancy material for similar depths. This weight savings equates into cost savings, because aluminum risers are easier and less expensive to transport, store and deploy.

"The aluminum drilling riser system is an innovation that could significantly change deep water oil and gas drilling," said Mary Zappone, President, Alcoa Oil & Gas. "This partnership with Cameron, one of the most accomplished leaders in drilling and production systems, validates the lightweight aluminum riser system as a viable product."

"With the aluminum riser system, we will be providing the lightest drilling equipment in the industry," said Harold Conway, President Cameron Drilling Systems.

Last week, Alcoa announced that it agreed to purchase Noble Corporation's intellectual property pertaining to welded aluminum risers, opening the door for Alcoa to form this cooperative partnership with Cameron to develop lightweight welded aluminum risers for deepwater applications.

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