EMAS makes waves in the Gulf

Audrey Leon

May 1, 2015

EPCIC contractor EMAS AMC is betting on the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, bringing not only its newbuild vessel the Lewek Constellation, but investing and upgrading a sprawling marine base in Ingleside, Texas. Audrey Leon reports.

The multi-lay OCV Lewek Constellation in transit. Photo from EMAS AMC.

The Gulf of Mexico is an area of opportunity for many, but this is especially true for EMAS AMC, which was formed when Singapore-headquartered EMAS acquired Norway-based Aker Marine Contractors AS in 2011.

In less than four years the company has grown exponentially. EMAS AMC has made a substantial commitment to the Gulf of Mexico, as it now holds nearly 350 employees (including 140 engineers) at its Houston office and 400 contract and full-time staff at the 120-acre EMAS marine base in Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi. It boasts multiple contracts for notable clients in the Gulf of Mexico such as Noble, Anadarko, Enbridge, Talos and Eni.

EMAS AMC took over the spoolbase at Ingleside in 2013 from Helix with the intent of making it a “one-stop shop” thereby speeding up project timelines.” Chris Tam, regional head, Americas, at EMAS AMC says the company acquired the facility because it is firmly committed to reel-lay as part of its business strategy and the Lewek Express vessel is part of that strategy.

“There’s no point in having reel-lay vessels without a spoolbase,” Tam says. “We decided the Ingleside spoolbase was fit-for-purpose and, at the time we acquired (mid-2013), it was already operational. This helped us springboard to immediately being able to service our clients using the Lewek Express.”

EMAS continued to improve the spoolbase, which has a deepwater slip measuring 700ft long, 300ft wide and 32ft deep. And, Tam says, because of the large real estate available, EMAS was able to include a fabrication facility on the site. The facility would be able to fabricate PLEMs, PLETs, in order to eliminate the critical path items typically seen in fast-track deepwater Gulf of Mexico projects.

The marine base also offers pipe spooling, logistics and fabrication including jumpers and manifolds. The company says this enables them to give faster turnaround by performing elements for most tie-back projects themselves. To date, upwards of US$55 million has been spent on improving capabilities at the marine base. And Tam says the company continues to work with the Ingleside community on job creation, training, and community services.

In addition to the marine base, EMAS AMC has positioned four offshore construction vessels in the Gulf and will relocate two more over the next four months. The vessels include the Lewek Toucan DSV, AMC Ambassador (working for Noble), Lewek Falcon (working for Enbridge on Walker Ridge), the Lewek Express (working on Eni’s Appaloosa), Reel Lay Barge (RB1) (at the marine base), Boa Sub C (working for Noble), and finally, the company’s latest, the Lewek Constellation.

EMAS’ marine base in Ingleside, Texas. Photo from Lanmon Aerial/EMAS AMC.

A Lewek of all trades

An artist rendering of the Reel Barge concept. Image from EMAS AMC.

The Lewek Express is guaranteed to see a lot of action in the Gulf over the next few months. The vessel, which EMAS calls a Swiss army knife – in terms of capabilities – worked on Eni’s Appaloosa project, its fifth for the Italian explorer. The installation campaign began in February and ended in March. Fabrication of a single PLET finished 1 February.

EMAS says the project scope included installation of 21.5mi of 8in pipe from a subsea PLET to the existing Corral platform. EMAS was also tasked with installing an 8in jumper and will conduct pre-commissioning for the pipeline. In April, the team installed a jumper and completing the offshore scope to allow Eni full access to pigging operations from the Corral platform.

The Lewek Express went to work at the Talos Phoenix field expansion project in March to complete the second of two campaigns. Talos Phoenix is located in Green Canyon 237 at a water depth of 1900-2600ft. The Lewek Express handled offshore installation including 9150ft of 4in rigid flowline, 6in jumper metrology and installation, pre-commissioning and hydro-testing of the flowline, a flexible installation, and 6000ft of 4in umbilical.

The Lewek Express will next begin working for several Noble Energy projects in April and May to install umbilicals. At Big Bend, the Express will install 113,000ft umbilical; at the Big Bend Gas Lift project, a 36,000ft umbilical, and at Dantzler, a 43,471ft umbilical. Also in May, the vessel will work along with the Lewek Falcon on the Anadarko K2 tie-back. The scope of work includes 2200ft of pipeline stalking, fabrication and installation, as well as 2300ft of umbilical installation, PLET/PLEM design and fabrication, flowline jumper and well jumper fabrication and installation.

EMAS AMC’s pipelay and construction vessel, the Lewek Express. 

Charting a Constellation

EMAS AMC christened its flagship vessel Lewek Constellation in Rotterdam back in March (OE: April 2015). The vessel is an ice-classed, DP3 multi-lay offshore construction vessel with ultra-deepwater pipe laying and heavy lift capabilities. The 3000m-water depth rated, 178.27m-long and 46m-wide vessel was initially conceptualized in 2009 and her hull was successfully launched in 2012.

Its inaugural job was a project of opportunity installing a platform for a Vaalco field off West Africa before it headed to The Netherlands for the installation of the lay tower.

The Lewek Constellation boasts an 800-tonne Huisman multi-lay system, including a tower which can tilt from 60° to 90°, able to support both rigid and non-rigid pipelines, a 3000-tonne Huisman offshore heavy lift crane at the stern of the vessel, two Schilling work class remotely operated vehicles (WROVs) and a portable reel system which reduces mobilization time. The portable reel system, which uses a spooling barge to transfer reeled product to the vessel, allows the vessel to work in field, or in close vicinity without returning to the spool base. The Lewek Constellation arrived in the Gulf of Mexico on 11 April 2015 and after lay trials scheduled for mid-May, the vessel will work on the Big Bend, Dantzler and Gunflint subsea tieback. The total scope includes over 80mi (130 km) of pipe-in-pipe flowlines and over 56mi (100 km) of umbilicals in up to 2200m water depth.

Following the news that the company won another $65 million in new contracts Lionel Lee, parent company Ezra’s Group CEO and managing director said in early February, “despite the current challenges faced by the oil and gas industry, our tendering activities continue to be promising and with Lewek Constellation becoming fully operational by 1Q 2015, we continue to strengthen our subsea tieback and SURF capabilities.”

“Despite the current headwinds faced by the oil and gas industry, our tendering activities remain healthy,” Lee said. “We sit in the value chain where it is more resilient.”