New vessels offer enhanced capabilities

Meg Chesshyre

February 1, 2013

Following the delivery of its flagship combined pipelay and heavy lift vessel, Seven Borealis, last summer, international diving contractor Subsea 7 continues to expand its fleet. Meg Chesshyre takes a look at recent new vessels ordered by Subsea 7, McDermott and Ulstein to address a perceived shortage in the market.

Subsea 7’s latest vessel will be the third new-build dive support vessel (DSV) to join the company’s fleet in recent years, following the delivery of Seven Atlantic in 2010 and Seven Havila in 2011. The brand-new VS 4725 DSV design was created by Wärtsilä Ship Design specifically for this vessel, which will be built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Korea. The contract was signed with HHI last December, and the vessel is scheduled for delivery in 2015. The vessel is intended for year-round North Sea diving operations. In customizing the design of such a complex vessel, close cooperation between Subsea 7, HHI, Drass Energy, the diving equipment supplier, and Wärtsilä was essential.

“The development of the Wärtsilä VS 4725 DSV, the development of the dive system by Drass, and the overall design and building by HHI is the result of good cooperation between all the parties involved. Wärtsilä Ship Design’s willingness and ability to adapt to the specific requirements and standards needed were key considerations in the award of this contract,” said Stuart Smith, vice president for technology & asset development, Subsea 7.

Subsea 7’s Steve Wisely, executive VP commercial, said the new vessel “will reinforce our leading diving capabilities with one of the world’s largest DSV fleets, and enable us to continue to serve our clients in an efficient, cost-effective and safe manner on many future projects”.

The new DSV will be equipped with the latest integrated diving equipment; a three-split engine and propulsion configuration ensures the highest level of redundancy. With accommodation for 110 people, the new DSV will incorporate an 18-man saturation system supplied by Drass and rated for 300m, with two moon pool deployed, three-man diving bells and two 18-man hyperbaric lifeboats. The vessel will be powered by six main engines in three separate engine rooms designed to maximize performance in DP3. The design length is 123m (403ft), breadth 24m, depth 10.5m, and service speed 12 knots. It will have a 120 tonne (132 ton) AHC knuckle-boom main crane, a deck area of around 980 sq m (10,548 sq ft) and a 1000 tonne deck load capacity.

The company now owns the DSV Seven Havila (pictured above) outright, having acquired Havila Shipping’s 50% share in the joint venture Acergy Havila last December. The JV owns the diving support vessel Seven Havila, built in 2010 and delivered to the JV in February 2011, when it immediately commenced a bareboat charter with Subsea 7.

The naming ceremony for the next-generation IMR and light construction vessel Seven Viking, built by Ulstein, took place in Stavanger at the end of January. The ship now begins a long-term charter with Subsea 7, working under contract with Statoil. Classed as ‘Ice-C’ by DNV, the new vessel has a crew capacity of 90, length of 106.5m, molded breadth of 24.5m and 16-knot service speed. It is co-owned by Eidesvik and Subsea 7 under the joint venture Eidesvik Seven.

Recent contract awards for the company include a US$30 million project with BP to support the redevelopment of the Schiehallion field, West of Shetland. This is part of a subsea construction, inspection, repair, and maintenance (SCIRM) frame agreement contract.

The scope of the Schiehallion project includes providing a subsea construction vessel for five months to disconnect the subsea risers, prior to the removal and replacement of the existing FPSO. The work will be engineered and managed from the company’s office in Aberdeen, with offshore work due to begin early this year. Subsea 7 has been providing SCIRM services in the harsh, West of Shetland deepwater environment for more than 18 years.

BP has extended its SCIRM contract in the North Sea by five years. The extension is valued at about $300 million and will run through 2017. Under the terms of this contract, Subsea 7 will deploy the multi-purpose support vessel Subsea Viking to provide extensive support services, primarily for BP’s operations in the Foinaven and Schiehallion fields, as well as support for BP assets in the North Sea.

Shell Upstream International Europe has awarded Subsea 7 a two-year extension on both of its underwater services contracts (USC), worth about $360 million. Under these contracts, Subsea 7 will continue to provide SCIRM services across Shell’s European offshore fields and facilities. The company has worked in partnership with Shell in the North Sea since 1990. The contract extension will commence in 2014 and continue until at least 2016 with the possibility of up to a further two year extension.

The advanced diving support vessel Seven Atlantic and the IMR, survey, and light construction vessel Normand Subsea will be dedicated to operate for Shell and managed by an onshore engineering and support team of more than 50 people. Both vessels are designed for year-round subsea operations in exposed conditions. They will provide 24-hour diving and ROV support services in the North Sea.

The Seven Atlantic was originally custom-built to meet Shell’s advanced technical specification and began operations in 2010. One of the largest vessels of its type, Seven Atlantic is primarily designed for saturation and air diving support works. The Normand Subsea was also custom built to Shell’s specification and began operations in 2009. It is a state-of-the-art, remotely-operatedvehicle support vessel designed for subsea inspection, maintenance, and repair. It carries six ROVs and a module handling system, all of which have been proven to operate simultaneously when required.

Dana Petroleum just awarded Subsea 7 a contract valued at about $300 million for the provision of subsea EPIC services in support of the Western Isles development project in the northern North Sea. The scope includes the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of two 2.5km pipeline bundles and an 11km gas export pipeline. Engineering and project management have begun at the company’s Aberdeen office, with offshore activities scheduled to start in 2014.

Chevron awarded Subsea 7 an EPCI topside contract valued at about $150 million for the development of the Lianzi field offshore the Republic of Congo and Angola. The scope of work includes a 200-tonne module hosting a high voltage generation system for the new subsea direct, electrically heated pipeline cable; an 80-tonne flow meter deck extension, and various upgrades on the platform. Project execution will maximize the use of local personnel and resources in the Republic of Congo and Angola. Onshore fabrication will be performed in both the Republic of Congo and Angola by the company’s Angolan joint venture. The offshore works, including installation, hook-up and commissioning, are scheduled for 2H 2014.

New combination S-lay vessel

McDermott International subsidiary, Hydro Marine Services, has signed a contract for the design and construction of a new high specification, dynamically positioned, combination S-lay vessel with a 2000-ton crane. Provisionally named Derrick Lay Vessel 2000 (DLV2000), the vessel will be built at Keppel Singmarine in Singapore and construction is expected to take about two and a half years, beginning this quarter.

DLV2000 is the second new-build vessel under construction for the McDermott fleet. In August 2012, McDermott signed a contract to build Lay Vessel 108, sister ship to the recently completed subsea construction vessel the Lay Vessel North Ocean 105, which is under construction at Metalships & Docks yard in Vigo, Spain. LV108 is due for delivery around 3Q 2014 (OE October 2012).

“DLV2000 is expected to address a market demand we consider to be extremely robust for deepwater pipelines as well as our traditional markets,” says Stephen M Johnson, chairman, president and CEO. “A combination heavy lift and deepwater S-lay pipelay vessel is an important asset for our expanding fleet, focusing on the subsea construction market.”

Developed by Keppel’s ship design arm, Marine Technology Development, DLV2000 is equipped to support advanced deepwater pipelay operations in severe weather conditions that will allow pipelines to be installed at depths of up to 10,000ft. An economical vessel transit speed is expected to be 12 knots with a top speed of 14 knots. It will be able to accommodate up to 400 personnel.

Keppel Singmarine has also recently secured a contract from Australia-based Bhagwan Marine to build a catamaran air dive support vessel, designed by Incat Crowther, due for completion in 1Q 2014. The new vessel will be deployed off Western Australia to support the operations of Apache Energy. Presently, Keppel Singmarine’s projects also include a multipurpose, dive-support, construction vessel for SBM Offshore.

North Sea re-entry

Norway’s Ocean Installer and McDermott last month established an exclusive alliance jointly to meet customers’ increasing rigid pipelay needs in the North Sea subsea market. The alliance marks McDermott’s re-entry into the North Sea and establishes Ocean Installer as a tier one North Sea contractor by adding rigid pipelay to the company’s capabilities.

“We are very pleased that McDermott has chosen Ocean Installer as its partner for the development of rigid pipelay solutions in the North Sea and we look forward to advancing our capabilities further together,” says Steinar Riise, CEO of Ocean Installer.

“With our expanding portfolio of deepwater subsea projects primarily in Asia-Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico, we look forward to working together with the experts at Ocean Installer to pursue subsea installation projects that support the continued development of the North Sea and further expansion of Norway’s offshore energy reserves,” comments McDermott’s Johnson.

The agreement commits the parties to pursue exclusively and execute jointly rigid pipelay projects in the North Sea and also serves as a framework for a more permanent relationship between the two companies.

New Ulstein multi-functional offshore vessel

Island Offshore and its American partner Edison Chouest Offshore have entered into a contract with Ulstein for the delivery of a multifunctional offshore vessel based on Ulstein’s proven SX121 design, with an option for an additional vessel. The vessel is prepared and tailored for the well intervention, IMR, and SURF segments, and meets the latest requirements for both well intervention and offshore construction work.

The newbuild (Island Performer) is scheduled for a delivery in May 2014. The 130m-long and 25m-wide ship will have DP3 capability and will be equipped to perform subsea operations at depths down to 3000m. The vessel can be rigged for well intervention and is prepared for the laying of flexible pipes and cables on the seabed through a VLS (vertical lay system) tower. It also has room for a rotating carousel below deck with a capacity to load 2500 tons.

An active heave-compensated offshore crane with a 250-ton capacity at 14m outreach and a below-deck winch will be installed. The vessel will carry two deep-sea work ROVs – one to be launched from the starboard side and one through the vessel’s moon pool. The ship is designed with a large cargo deck for equipment transport. It will be equipped with diesel electric propulsion and three azimuth main thrusters powered by six large generator sets, and will have a crew capacity of 130. In the event of evacuation, both the starboard and port side life boats can accommodate the entire crew.

Island Offshore currently has four vessels delivered by Ulstein in its fleet: The well stimulation vessel Island Patriot, the subsea construction vessel Island Pioneer, and the two subsea construction and intervention vessels of SX121 design, Island Constructor and Island Intervention. OE