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SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Engineering Solutions for Complex Offshore Applications Saipem FDS 2 The Need Drives the Means Hi-Traq: The First Four-Track Trencher Built Specifically for Offshore Renewables The Market Still Applies Cabling the World Pipes and Cables Under the Sea

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


Hi-Traq Subsea Tooling Platform

Total capability in Pipe-lay, Cable-lay and Subsea vehicle technology. IHC Engineering Business designs, builds and supplies bespoke offshore systems for the oil, gas and renewables industries. IHC Engineering Business Unit 11 Stocksfield Hall Stocksfield Northumberland T +44 161 844 519 ebl@ihcmerwede.com www.ihceb.com


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Engineering Solutions for Complex Offshore Applications Saipem FDS 2 The Need Drives the Means

Contents

Hi-Traq: The First Four-Track Trencher Built Specifically for Offshore Renewables The Market Still Applies Cabling the World Pipes and Cables Under the Sea

Foreword 2 John Hancock, Editor

Case Study – Saipem FDS2 3 IHC Engineering Business Limited

Pipe and Cable-lay Introduction Saipem’s FDS2 Vessel J-lay System Legacy

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell Editor John Hancock Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

© 2015. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

The Need Drives the Means

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John Hancock, Editor

A Growing Business Creates Greater Challenges Renewables are a Growing Part of the Offshore Energy Picture New Infrastructure Techniques Demand Greater Installation Precision The Arctic Ocean – The Final Frontier for Pipes and Cables

Hi-Traq: The First Four-Track Trencher Built Specifically for Offshore Renewables

8

IHC Engineering Business Limited

An Efficient and Cost Effective Solution Extensively Tested to Minimise Risk Technology Potential Future of Subsea Trenching and Handling Technology

The Market Still Applies

10

Peter Dunwell, Correspondent

Prices Might be Falling now but Demand is Growing Low Oil Prices are a Challenge for Renewables A Place for Renewables in a Complete Energy Plan Change in the Climate Drives Everything

Cabling the World

12

Francis Slade, Staff Writer

How Cables Fit in Energy Security and Financial Viability Getting the Cable Safely in Position

Pipes and Cables Under the Sea

14

John Hancock, Editor

Using the Right Equipment for the Job Subsea Pipelines and Cables Linear and Hubs

References 16

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

Foreword

E

LECTRICITY HAS always been transmitted using cables. That has been a relatively straightforward engineering challenge and for most of the time we have used overhead pylons or underground ducting to get power from where it is generated to where it is needed. Equally, while most oil and gas came from far-off places, it was transported by ship and then overland pipelines to where it was used, often to power generators. However, the development of offshore oil and gas fields has led to a development of subsea pipes and a whole engineering sector around their building, laying and maintenance. More recently, the development of offshore renewable energy sources (wave and tidal but principally wind power) has faced cable with similar challenges.

pipe diameters of between 4� and 36� at lay tensions of up to 1500t and has a hang-off capacity of 2000t. The next piece looks at the environment in which cables and pipes have to operate and the challenges that face those who have to install these critical infrastructures. This is followed by an article that looks at the Hi-Traq vehicle which has been designed specifically to reduce operating costs and project risk during the installation and burial of offshore renewables power cables. Hi-Traq has been developed with a targeted seabed weight in order to facilitate operations without being adversely affected by the harsh subsea environments that cause high seabed drag and lift force conditions.

With the need to link large arrays of offshore wind

Next, Peter Dunwell looks at the wider context of

power generators to each other and to the land (175

markets, global energy demand and currently low oil

generators in the London Array use 280 miles of cable)

prices. How they are impacting the renewable energy

better, faster and more accurate installation will be

sources sector is important both in current times and in

important. In that context, the quality and capability

the long run. Francis Slade follows that up with a closer

of equipment used in cable laying will also have to

look at the global renewable energy phenomenon and

match up to the more demanding requirements of

the demand that will put on cables. Finally we look at

modern renewables.

the processes, techniques and equipment used to

We commence this Special Report with an Oil and

put pipes and cables under the ocean.

Gas Case study of a project undertaken by IHC Engineering Business for Saipem to supply the J-lay tower for their new Field Development Ship (FDS2) in April 2007. The J-lay system is capable of handling

John Hancock Editor

John Hancock joined as Editor of Offshore Reports in early 2012. A journalist for 25 years, John has written and edited articles and papers on a range of engineering, support services and technology topics as well as for key events in the sector. Subjects have included aeroengineering, auto-engineering and electronics, high value manufacturing, testing, aviation IT, materials engineering, weapons research, supply chain, logistics and naval engineering.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

Case Study - Saipem FDS 2 IHC Engineering Business Limited

Pipe and Cable-lay Introduction When IHC Engineering Business, part of Royal IHC, was founded in 1997 its product portfolio centred on the deployment and burial of subsea power and telecommunications cables and included families of ploughs used for cable burial along with their launch and recovery systems. Specialising in providing bespoke engineering solutions across the offshore sector, the company expanded its portfolio over the next decade to include pipeline ploughs, carousel systems for cable lay vessels and the pipe handling systems for Allsea’s Audacia’s S-lay vessel. The business has been part of Royal IHC since 2008. This has provided the unique opportunity to offer fully integrated pipe-lay, cable-lay and subsea technology systems entirely from within the group; thus removing interface and co-ordination risks.

Saipem’s FDS2 Vessel J-lay System It was against this background of increasing experience in the offshore sector, and its flexibility in approach to developing new products that IHC EB was commissioned by Saipem to supply the J-lay tower for their new Field Development Ship 2 (FDS2) in April 2007. The J-lay system is capable of handling pipe diameters of between 4” and 36” at lay tensions of up to 1500t and has a hang-off capacity of 2000t. The pipe sections can be loaded onto the vessel via a supply ship, allowing the vessel to operate for long periods of time without having to return to port to re-supply. Once on board the vessel the individual pipes are welded together into a Quad Joint before being loaded into the tower for deployment onto the sea bed. The tower pivots to angles between 45 and 96 degrees from the horizontal to allow pipe deployment from shallow to ultra-deep water. The tower can also lower into a horizontal position on deck in order to minimise loading on tower and reduce the impact on vessel stability during transit and survival conditions. In addition to the tower and associated equipment, IHC EB supplied a deck mounted welding station with integral bulky item handler, and the system for loading the quad joints into the tower. IHC’s key design drivers throughout the development of the equipment were the efficiency

of the pipe handling operations to ensure low cycle time, weight optimisation and safety in all aspects of operation. At 95m high and weighing approximately 2000t the J-lay tower was, at the time, by far the largest structure to be designed by the company, requiring close co-operation within multi-disciplinary teams including mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and software engineers. The company established structural design team consisting of a combination of highly qualified engineers and external experts to execute the design in accordance with recognised offshore codes and included the development of in-house software to assess the fatigue life of the structure in accordance with the most stringent industry standards. The development of these analysis tools was critical to meeting the stringent contractual weight targets whilst also ensuring the tower fatigue life is maintained. The project also marked the development of IHC’s industryleading approach to the functional safety of electrical and control systems. IHC and Saipem worked closely together during the project in order to apply the lessons learnt from Saipem’s vast operational experience to all aspects of the system design and operation. The manufacturing phase of the project centred on North-East England. The J-lay tower was fabricated on Teesside with sub-assemblies being manufactured at other local suppliers and pre-assembled at IHC’s Port of Tyne facility prior to transport to Teesside for assembly onto the tower. The project attracted significant local and national media attention, proving the manufacturing capability of the region following decades of decline in the region’s traditional shipbuilding industry. The system left Teesside in mid-May 2010 to be installed on the FDS2 in Samsung Heavy Industries’ Geoje shipyard in South Korea. Following installation, IHC engineers saw the system through commissioning, testing, sea trials and the vessel’s first project. Support provided to Saipem has not been limited to equipment supply and commissioning. Since the first operational project, IHC has supplied technical support, project-specific parts, maintenance spares and is now engaged

Pipe-lay Systems

Reel-lay

J-lay

Flex-lay

IHC EB is a leading supplier of tailor-made, high performance lay systems including J-lay, S-lay, Reel-lay, Flex-lay and Carousel systems. IHC EB’s approach to engineering and its in-house mechanical, structural and control system design expertise enables it to deliver lay systems that provide maximum operability and functionality.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

At 95m high and weighing approximately 2000t the J-lay tower was, at the time, by far the largest structure to be designed by the company, requiring close co-operation within multi-disciplinary teams including mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and software engineers

TOWER INSTALLATION

in significant performance upgrade work. This will continue throughout the life of the equipment.

Legacy In the five years since the system left North East England it has been successfully deployed on projects in Nigeria, Angola, China and Brazil and still remains one of the most capable J-lay systems in operation today. The achievements of the design team were recognised by being named Design Team of the Year 2011 by the British Engineering Excellence Awards (BEEA) and highly commended by the judges for its teamwork and innovation. “Communication was the key to successful 4 | WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

teamwork given the system weight and performance targets, coupled with the size and complexity of the engineering challenge,” says Barry Malone project manager, who is now Head of Projects at IHC EB. Many of the other key team members have gone on to enjoy illustrious careers at IHC EB. Notably project Chief Engineer Martin Bingham has moved into the position of Director of Technology, and the structural lead, Michael Smith, is now Chief Engineer for the development of a new 2000t J-lay system which is to be delivered to Petrofac in 2016. The legacy from IHC’s first turnkey deep water pipe lay system means that it is now one


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

of a small number of companies around the world capable of delivering systems of this size and complexity. Since the delivery of the J-lay system for FDS2, IHC has delivered a Reel-lay system for Technip’s Deep Energy and Flex-lay systems for McDermott and Sapura Navegacao Maritima vessels. All of these systems utilise technology and design processes developed during the course of the FDS2 project. Nobody working in the offshore oil and gas industry can afford to stand still. As operational and environmental requirements become all the more challenging and the search for greater efficiencies, lower costs and safer operation becomes all the more important, the tier 1 contractors and equipment suppliers need to raise their game. IHC is at the forefront of innovative technology across the whole product and service range. The commitment to continuous improvements ensures customers are always at the leading edge. The engineers at IHC are proud of their equipment and are dedicated to providing support to our clients’ evolving requirements as they continue to push the boundaries of pipelay installation projects. IHC’s life cycle support team recently supported Saipem to increase the capacity of the system for a Deep Water project in Brazil and in assessing the suitability of the system for deploying out-of-spec Bulky Items. The trend of continued Deep Water developments in the offshore industry presents a compelling commercial case for pipe lay systems such as FDS2 which are capable of laying in deep water at high catenary tensions. Apart from the ongoing development of J-lay technology, Royal IHC is building fully integrated, state of the art Flexlay vessels with tension capacity up to 600t. These vessels continue to prove their worth; most recently in the challenging deep-water environment of offshore

The achievements of the design team were recognised by being named Design Team of the Year 2011 by the British Engineering

Cable-lay Systems

Excellence Awards (BEEA) and highly commended by the judges for its teamwork and innovation

Basket Carousel

Brazil where these vessels have been working continuously since the day they started. With a track record also in S-lay, Reel-lay and advanced cable-lay systems, IHC can justifiably claim to be the industry-leading supplier in these fields. Recent developments in subsea vehicle and tooling technology have brought IHC into the news. The Hi Traq multi-purpose subsea vehicle platform is attracting widespread attention for its wide-ranging capability in cable burial and an extensive range of IRM and decommissioning tasks.

Tensioner

Loader Arm

Royal IHC is your first port of call for fully integrated cable-lay vessels and equipment. This includes carousels and baskets, tensioners, product routing equipment and advanced control systems. For product burial please talk to IHC about our wide range of trenchers, ploughs, and jet sleds to perform in all soil conditions.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

The Need Drives the Means John Hancock, Editor If undersea pipelines and cables are to be economical, their secure installation by the correct equipment will be critical

Not only is the cost and complexity of installation much greater in the offshore environment but also, the imperative to ensure that installation is robust and durable is higher because of the additional stresses on the infrastructure and, of course, the need to avoid a further costly and complex re-installation

A Growing Business Creates Greater Challenges The offshore energy market is changing rapidly with a number of internal and external, long-term and short-term factors bearing on how energy is sourced or generated and how it is transported and transmitted from source to point of use. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that the product has to be transported and transmitted and that employs two key forms of infrastructure, pipelines for oil and gas and cables for electricity. Both are proven systems for transporting fuel and transmitting energy but both have to be put in place. That’s not such a problem on land but subsea, the challenge is significant. Not only is the cost and complexity of installation much greater in the offshore environment but also, the imperative to ensure that installation is robust and durable is higher because of the additional stresses on the infrastructure and, of course, the need to avoid a further costly and complex reinstallation. And, in the current market, cost is King. Even the best expectation for1 “September [2015] Brent crude… on London’s ICE Futures [is that is has] added 39 cents, or 0.7%, [taking it to] $57.04 a barrel.” Oil and gas producers across the sector face challenging economic times. However, what might be a technical and ingenuity challenge for an onshore oil or gas field (building and maintaining a pipeline and/or cable infrastructure in the face of c$50-60 a barrel prices) has the potential to be an existential challenge for offshore and subsea installations where costs are already so much higher. On a positive note, Infield Systems2 reported; “… the largest proportion of deepwater investment [is] to be directed towards pipeline installations; comprising 39% of total global deepwater expenditure.” While the Infield report was written in 2012, before current price falls had taken their hold on the sector, the overall and upbeat message might not be unrealistic although the source of optimism may have shifted to some new markets. As Heidi Vella, writing in Offshore Technology explained in ‘Future outlook:

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the offshore oil & gas industry in 2015’3, “West Africa has seen increased activity and Brazil’s offshore market has boomed. Companies have also been watching Mexico with keen interest…”

Renewables are a Growing Part of the Offshore Energy Picture But, as we’ve already seen, offshore energy is no longer just about oil and gas but includes, to an increasing degree, offshore renewable energy generation. There are of course numerous generating solutions mooted including harnessing wave and tidal energy but the one that has really taken off in the past decade or more is offshore wind energy. This has tapped into already competent offshore pipeline and communications cable installation capabilities but has added a few challenges of its own to the mix. The International Cable Protection Committee summarises the growing importance of subsea power cables as… • Power transfer from energy sources, including offshore renewable energy schemes, to consumers; • Interconnecting different regional electrical transmission networks to allow global trading of energy; • Supply to remote areas; •P  ower (and communications) for offshore installations; •W  ith growing reliance on offshore-based renewable energy schemes, many countries now class submarine power cables as critical infrastructure. Bearing that last point in mind, as reliance on cable infrastructures increases and, with it, the extent of such structures, there is also a need to consider the environmental impact of any development: after all, what would be the point of renewable energy if its transmission system damaged the environment? The OSPAR Commission’s ‘Guidelines on Best Environmental Practice (BEP) in Cable Laying and Operation’4 explains some of the matters of which cable laying must take note; “Environmental impacts of submarine cables may occur during their laying, operation and removal as


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

Life-Cycle Support HI-TRAQ MAINTAINING TRACTION UP 20DEG SLOPES

well as in the case of accidents… The laying of cables leads to seabed disturbance and associated impacts (damage, displacement or disturbance) on flora and fauna... Along with noise and visual disturbance, these effects [are]… generally temporary. In addition, their spatial extent is limited to the cable corridor…” That said, the paper does continue to suggest that once the cable route and burial technique have been selected there are several steps that cable layers can take to account for the local environment when planning and timing their work. And if ‘burial’ sounds a rather dramatic term, it only refers to a cable protection technique that has been popular since the 1980s. Burial in a trench beneath the seabed not only protects cables from damage when fishing gear or other equipment is dragged over the site but also helps to mitigate the effects of oceanic movements.

New Infrastructure Techniques Demand Greater Installation Precision In a situation similar to that faced by offshore oil and gas, the further offshore that renewable energy generators are sited, the greater the technical challenges for laying the cable. 3U Technologies5 describes the challenge as. “Increased weight of large diameter power cables in deeper waters requiring the use of larger cable handling machines for installation.” The article adds, “Cable laying and burial is the most specialized part of the installation.” and, “Cable burial or protection can take place either in-situ during installation or post-lay. The in-situ method utilizes a cable burial plow [plough] and post lay involves an ROV with a cable jetting tool.” Another challenge that has accompanied the development of offshore renewable energy is the need to link arrays which might extend to dozens of generators. Whereas once undersea cables were lengthy and singular, and could be deployed from a specially equipped vessel onto

the seabed where their weight alone would ensure stability, the infrastructure today is much more complex. In an array of offshore generators or a wind farm, it is usual for a number of connections either between generators and/or from generators to a hub or sub-station prior to transmission to land. So laying the cables today is a much more precise and managed process. Also, with so many power cables running under the seabed and many more planned, factors such as burial depth become important not only to protect the cable but to minimise the impact of heat pollution from the cable causing changes in the ecosystem around it.

Operational Assistance

Upgrades & Modifications

The Arctic Ocean, the Final Frontier for Pipes and Cables Until recently, the deep subsea was the most challenging environment in which either pipelines or cables could be installed but that is changing as the final frontier of the Arctic Ocean is now seen as a necessary environment in which to work. Methods for laying pipes or cables have to take account not only of the accessibility challenges which almost certainly demand remotely controlled vehicles but also of the additional hazards against which the infrastructure must be protected. The main additional challenge is ice gouge as icebergs drift across and their keels make contact with the seabed when the depth of water in less than their draught. It has always been important that subsea pipelines and cables are securely laid. However, given the growing dependence on them and the increasingly hazardous and inaccessible environments in which they have to work, it is more than ever a critical matter that the process and equipment used to install these infrastructures is of the most advanced and capable sort. There is a choice of equipment for different places but the choice of appropriate equipment is vital not only to the installation but also to the long term viability of the pipe or cable laid.

Mobilisation Support

IHC customers rely on the unrivalled level of commitment that is offered to them through dedicated and comprehensive lifecycle support services. These help to maximise the equipment’s availability and the return on investment, and therefore reduces the total cost of ownership.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

Hi-Traq: The First Four-Track Trencher Built Specifically for Offshore Renewables IHC Engineering Business Limited

Hi-Traq is the first subsea vehicle that has been specifically designed to reduce operating costs and project risk during the installation and burial of offshore renewables power cables.

Industry boundaries have been pushed further than ever before with the development of the Hi-Traq

T

HE OPPORTUNITY to challenge existing technologies in this field arose during an internal Research and Development study by IHC Engineering Business (IHC EB). The findings highlighted that traditional methods were not maximising time or efficiency, costing the industry millions of pounds every year. Disrupted operating windows, project delays and unnecessary complications that have previously been accepted as collateral can be mitigated thanks to the innovative solution provided to customers through the Hi-Traq vehicle.

An Efficient and Cost Effective Solution Research shows that strong currents and aggressive wave action are major factors in procedures for installation and burial and can sometimes bring operations to a standstill. If assets have too little mass to stay on the seabed, then they are forced to either strive to stay on station for the duration of the project, sometimes damaging the product in the process, or temporarily halting procedures altogether. The severe and unpredictable nature of the subsea environments in shallow waters presents a significant challenge for installation operations. The routinely used free swimming ROVs are typically not sophisticated enough to respond according to the varying circumstances. Inter-array cable burial was never the intention for neutrally buoyant vehicles and therefore they inevitably struggle where situations are encountered in which they have not been designed to operate. Hi-Traq has been specifically designed with a targeted seabed weight in order to facilitate operations without being adversely affected by the harsh subsea environments which create high seabed drag and lift force conditions. Additionally, as a multi-tool, Hi-Traq has been designed to accommodate a range of tools to suit different seabed environments. 8 | WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

Hi-Traq benefits from uninterrupted traction against the seabed across uneven terrain whilst additionally maintaining a continuously level platform to deliver a vertically cut trench, to a constant depth. This is achieved by each of the four tracks operating independently and the selfleveling system responding automatically to the seabed contours. Uniquely, the vehicle has the capacity to maintain cutter face pressure while trenching down to 10m radius to trench right up to the scour protection including the tight cable bends generated during second end pull in operations. This reduces the requirement for secondary protection operations such as mattressing or rock-dumping. This saves both time and money for the developer and helps to lower the levelised cost of energy.

Extensively Tested to Minimise Risk The inevitable risk factor that comes as part of new and innovative technology has been mitigated through extensive physical testing. Uniquely, IHC EB, with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) , were able to produce a demonstration vehicle which was extensively tested on a specifically designed facility in order to prove the vehicle concept, prior to offering the production vehicle to the market. Offshore wind is an essential component of Europe’s binding target to source 20% of final energy consumption from renewables. As such, it is imperative that technology is advanced to help offshore wind to be more efficient and cost competitive in the near term, both of which are benefits that Hi-Traq can bring to the industry. Catapult, formerly Narec (the National Renewable Energy Center), expressed an interest in the demonstration vehicle project and helped IHC EB secure the ERDF investment enabling IHC EB to not only have partial project funding but also to engage with new suppliers and manufacturers.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

Existing Technologies – Typical Issues

Hi-Traq’s Solution

Vehicles not able to stay on station during high currents

As a crawler vehicle, Hi-Traq can stay on station in strong current and wave action conditions

Unexpected ground conditions limiting equipment performance

Hi-Traq, as a multi-tool, can perform in a wide variety of soil conditions

Undulating terrain can risk damage to the cable, reduce the trenching performance and risk the vehicle becoming stuck

Four track self-levelling system provides a smooth passage of the chassis over undulating terrain whilst maintaining a low average ground pressure

Pitch over crest can damage a cable and spanning can lead to a vehicle becoming stuck

Four tracks allows smooth transitions over crests and prevents spanning at the bottom of a crest

gained during the demonstrator project, IHC EB can ensure production processes will run smoothly for the fully operational subsea vehicle. Industry boundaries have been pushed further than ever before with the development of the Hi-Traq. The previously accepted efficiency in this market is now challenged with a better, more efficient solution. Increased operational windows, improved installation time and significantly lower risk ultimately result in lower overall project costs.

Sea Stallion Cable Plough Range

Sea Stallion 2

HI-TRAQ NEGOTIATING UNEVEN TERRAIN

In order to maximise the results obtained from the demonstration vehicle, the Hi-Traq was developed by testing a wide range of theories and investigating various potential solutions before defining the optimum solution. Throughout its evolution, the engineering development team were heavily involved in the progression of the concept and detail design before progressing into procurement, assembly and then testing at the IHC EB Offshore Support Base at the Port of Tyne. The purpose-built test facility was designed to replicate worst-case scenario extremes of subsea topography found at typical offshore renewable locations in order to push the technology to its limits. During the extensive challenges, HiTraq demonstrated incomparable capabilities and excelled in all assessments while, most importantly, maintaining its vitally important level platform. The vehicle surpassed expectations throughout the chassis tilting studies and impressed bystanders with its unmatched crab and wagon steering operations. Varying slopes, of up to 20°, inconsistent soil types and out of phase mounds were easily accommodated by the 35 tonne vehicle, proving its ability to combat known obstacles that have typically provided significant delays to operators in the past. This unique approach of measuring the viability of technology before production minimises risk to the client as it has allowed IHC EB to demonstrate the previously unproven technology. Furthermore, the tests served as part of the development programme, identifying potential improvements for the production vehicle and, through knowledge

Technology Potential The Hi-Traq is scalable with alternative tooling options available. This allows the vehicle to be tailored to accommodate customer requirements. This adaptable approach means that the technology can be applied and would benefit various fields, such as Inspection Repair and Maintenance (IRM) – Deburial, inspection, repair and reburial, Decommissioning – Deburial, subsea excavation and subsea handling, and Subsea Excavation – Seabed preparation for infrastructure installation. Working with these various markets throughout the project to understand the industry requirements has provided IHC EB with a strong platform for the vehicle to develop in a diverse way.

Future of Subsea Trenching and Handling Technology Several regions, such as North America, Asia and Australasia are now progressing offshore wind. However Europe, and in particular the UK, has fronted advancements in this sector for many years. It is recognised and acknowledged that as production activities for oil and gas move into deeper waters, the requirement for trenching is in turn reduced. However, the increase in installations for new and developing markets and the growth of infrastructure in these rising locations, such as China, show significant areas of opportunity for future trenching. The Arctic represents a relatively untapped pool of resources and is the next frontier in the expanding range of production, providing significant challenges and pipeline trenching is a key development required to allow exploitation of the vast pool of resources.

Sea Stallion 3

Sea Stallion 4

IHC EB’s extensive experience in the design and build of subsea trenching equipment has enabled it to develop the world-leading Sea Stallion cable plough range which set new standards in submarine cable installation and protection. The Sea Stallion has a proven ability to facilitate effective cable burial up to 3m depth.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR COMPLEX OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

The Market Still Applies Peter Dunwell, Correspondent Greater efficiency will be the key that unlocks renewable energy generation

Renewables have been around for some time but have yet to make the financial breakthrough that would make them a viable replacement for carbon based energy products. They will eventually cross the threshold into viability but falling oil prices do not help

Prices Might be Falling now but Demand is Growing The prices of oil and gas have fallen in recent times. It is unlikely that will remain the case for the long-term or even, according to LUKOIL, in the medium term when, its paper ‘Global Trends in Oil & Gas Markets to 2025’6 predicts; “…a number of trends will support oil prices...”:• Population growth, urbanization; • Motorization in Asia; • Growing costs of exploration and production; • OPEC policy; • Dollar depreciation. Not only is the world’s population increasing but expectations of individuals within that population are also greater which means that demand for energy is growing exponentially. Either more energy has to be found – a limited policy when current resources are finite – or new sources of energy have to be exploited. Renewables have been around for some time but have yet to make the financial breakthrough that would make them a viable replacement for carbon based energy products. They will eventually cross the threshold into viability but falling oil prices do not help.

Low Oil Prices are a Challenge for Renewables Gail Tverberg writing in Our Finite World in December 2014 offered ‘Ten Reasons Why a Severe Drop in Oil Prices is a Problem’7. It’s lengthy but interesting and explains; “Many people believe that renewables can eventually take over the role of fossil fuels… For those with this view, low oil prices are a problem, because they discourage the hoped-for transition to renewables. Despite all of the statements made about renewables, they don’t really substitute for oil.” Lower oil prices put additional pressure on renewables to be efficient. Ronan O’Regan of PwC puts his finger on the problem in his energy spotlight blog8. “… [The UK] government have defined the size of the pot to fund low carbon technologies through the Levy Control Framework (LCF). The CfD [Contract for Difference] component of this pot will change as the wholesale price of energy changes – lower

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wholesale prices will use up more of the pot and hence less renewables projects can be funded... In principle, falling commodity prices will have the effect of making the relative cost of supporting renewables look more expensive.” But, overall, “the economic tide is turning in favour of renewables over fossil fuel.” is Jason Switzer’s view in Renewable Energy World9. Some of this success he puts down to a synergetic relationship between the old order and the new. “Developing renewable energy plays to the strengths of the oil and gas sector, which include energy market insight, technology know-how, mega-project management excellence, rock-solid credit and community engagement experience. Renewables offer a means for diversification in the face of volatile energy input costs, and a hedge against peaking oil demand in key markets. Renewable energy investments can also earn oil and gas companies favourable political capital among climate-conscious community members and decision makers.”

A Place for Renewables in a Complete Energy Plan Notwithstanding the above, we will still need oil and gas for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean that renewables are not good. Even putting climate change warnings aside, renewables must be a sensible way to power our world. The need for subsea pipelines and cables will continue indefinitely. Subsea Cables UK10 links the need for renewable energy to a more basic economic reality; “… over the next few years the UK is going to lose 12GW of generating power from old coal fired power stations and 7.5GW of nuclear generating capacity is due to come to its end of life… New nuclear power isn’t planned to come online until 2023 or later. So we must look to further offshore wind energy... Industry projections see a total of around 8GW of capacity installed by 2016 and around 18GW installed by 2020, by which point offshore wind will supply between 18 to 20% of the UK’s electricity annually. Of course the only way to transport that power from the wind farms to the grid is via a submarine cable.”


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Life-Cycle Support

FOUR-TRACK STEERING (CRAB STEER MODE) Operational Assistance

It isn’t only the resources from which energy is derived that can contribute to greater efficiency. Energy efficiency is a whole engineering discipline in its own right and will act with other initiatives such as renewables to ensure that the lights stay on in our world. Come what may, there is a driving need to clean up the planet, to slow or halt climate change and to improve the health prospects for us all.

Change in the Climate Drives Everything Having mentioned or alluded to climate change a couple of times, it’s probably useful to record that global surface air temperature is predicted to increase by 0.1oC every decade, even if there is no increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, over year 2000 levels. At greenhouse gas rates expected by IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that temperature increase doubles to 0.2oC every decade.

To counter this increase, the European Union (EU) has adopted a programme known as the 20-20-20 targets for three key objectives to meet by 202011. •A  20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels; •R  aising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20%; •A  20% improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency. Europe has a definite policy on the matter of renewable energy and RWE Innogy12 describes it well. “[European onshore wind farms] will be joined by enormous offshore wind farms... winds in coastal areas and at sea are stronger and more persistent. This will lead to lower electricity generation costs in the long term… Wind turbines will have to be installed in waters of up to 40 metres in depth. Electricity generated up to 100 kilometres off the coast needs to be transported to consumers on the mainland via a grid connection.”

Upgrades & Modifications

Mobilisation Support

IHC customers rely on the unrivalled level of commitment that is offered to them through dedicated and comprehensive lifecycle support services. These help to maximise the equipment’s availability and the return on investment, and therefore reduces the total cost of ownership.

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Cabling the World Francis Slade, Staff Writer

Creating the infrastructure for a clean and reliable energy resource

Although cabling can cover large areas of seabed, the associated environmental impacts are highly transitory, localised in extent and temporary in duration...

R

EADERS WILL be familiar with the role of submarine pipelines but there is a growing underwater infrastructure of power cables that, if renewable energy programmes go as planned, will at some future point become even more important for our energy needs. There have been power cables under the sea since the early 19th century and, these days, subsea power cables carry energy between countries and to offshore oil and gas platforms. But a key growth area is in transferring power within and from offshore renewable energy systems… especially wind power arrays.

How Cables Fit in Aside from the well-rehearsed environmental arguments for renewable energy sources, it is also the case that transmission systems and cables, are less environmentally intrusive than pipelines. Submarine cables are small in diameter so that, once installed, they are very unlikely to cause any long-term harm to the environment, not even the immediate environment. As the UK Government’s Business Department (BERR)13 put it, “Although cabling can cover large areas of seabed, the associated environmental impacts are highly transitory, localised in extent and temporary in duration... For the majority of installation scenarios, the seabed and associated fauna and flora would be expected to return to a state similar to the pre-disturbance conditions.” Also, it would be wrong to assume that offshore oil and gas and offshore renewables are antipathetic systems; they share a number of technologies and engineering approaches. As 3U Technologies explains14, “[Offshore renewable] generating plants take the form of offshore structures to support windmills, subsea structures to support tidal current generators and subsea moorings to support wave generators. All of these generating systems are designed to sustain an existence in an environment identical to the offshore oil and gas industry.” So, while the systems are complex, many tasks such as cable laying have been well-rehearsed over years of offshore oil and gas production.

12 | WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

Energy Security and Financial Viability One concern about renewable energy sources (RES) is their financial viability, but that might be addressed from two directions. The first is energy security. Outside of North America, most of the world’s energy producers and users are in different places. For an economic bloc such as Europe, while there are indigenous carbon fuel resources, they are limited in quantity and by a socio-political climate in which some means of exploitation are often opposed on environmental grounds – fracking would be a good example. So, a great deal of the continent’s carbon fuels are imported, which is fine until either the producer receives a better offer or decides to use the resources as geopolitical policy tools. However, with renewable energy, Europe is well placed to exploit every major form. Tidal, wave and, especially, wind energy (onshore and offshore) are abundantly available for exploitation around Europe with the result that already the continent leads the world in this type of generation. The financial argument is slightly different and complex. The Wind Energy Research Group explains15… “Renewables are not yet competitive. [However,] Because of the political reasons, government policy in several countries has supported RES to expedite their development. A RES rising fast in deployment is wind energy. Onshore location selection difficulties have moved siting to offshore for some countries, even though the costs and risks of this new application are higher.” Against those high costs are set the cost of carbon pollution and, of course, the more RES is exploited, the lower will the cost become. The offshore power cable is going to become a key feature in our future energy infrastructure; so laying those cables safely, securely and durably is going to be an important process.

Getting the Cable Safely in Position Installing a subsea cable is a great deal more than simply rolling a very long wire from the back of a suitable vessel. At the outset, a route has


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Handling Systems

DOC VAN OORD NEXUS

Launch & Recovery

Bespoke Handling

DAMEN OFFSHORE CARRIER 8500 Offshore Wind

to be identified and permissions obtained from authorities with jurisdiction. Then the route has to be surveyed before being finalised. Bearing the route and its geology in mind, the cable system has to be designed and laid, including burial where appropriate. After laying, it might be necessary to inspect the cable and notify other marine users before the final ‘switch-on’. This paper is principally concerned with the laying and burial process, for which the UK’s Crown Estate, which manages the UK Continental Shelf, identifies three principle installation practices16: A. Cables are surface laid by a cable-laying vessel, and burial is carried out in a post-lay mode using a separate vessel and trenching/ jetting equipment spread. B. Cables are laid and buried in a simultaneous operation with burial equipment being towed by the cable laying vessel or barge, in the case of a plough or burial sled, or operated from the laying vessel where a self-propelled ROV

is utilised. Variations on the theme include the use of a jetting leg (also known as an injector) deployed from an anchored barge; this is a shallow water burial tool used for single and bundled cables with the capability to achieve deep burial in appropriate conditions, or post lay cable ploughing – a modification of the oil and gas sector’s umbilical and pipeline ploughing methods. The latter techniques are however not widely used, as a number of significant difficulties may exist. C. As for B above, with a separate vessel opening a pre-cut trench. The cable is then positioned into the trench on laying. This however is not a common method of operation, as considerable scope exists for difficulties in co-ordination of the two vessels working together in this way, for accurate positioning of the cable and for maintaining an open trench. The next article will look more closely at the processes around pipe and cable laying.

IHC EB has extensive experience with the provision of Launch and Recovery Systems (LARS) for subsea vehicles. This includes LARS for seabed ploughs and trenchers of varying weights and sizes. In addition to vehicle LARS IHC EB has also produced a variety of Bulky Item Handling equipment for the deployment of pipeline PLETs and PLEMs.

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Pipes and Cables Under the Sea Francis Slade, Staff Writer

Getting them securely down there is the key keeping them down there

Where possible, and necessary, the preferred option is to bury the cables under the sea bed. This will help protect the cable from potential damage by ship’s anchors or commercial fishing. There are various methods of doing this, but the one most often used is a ‘cable plough’

Most people would recognise the Subsea Cables UK17 description of installing a subsea cable: “Where possible, and necessary, the preferred option is to bury the cables under the sea bed. This will help protect the cable from potential damage by ship’s anchors or commercial fishing. There are various methods of doing this, but the one most often used is a ‘cable plough”. The cable is fed out of the rear of the ship and onto a plough that is towed, either by the cable ship or another ship following behind. The plough lifts a furrow of the seabed and the cable slides into this furrow, then after the plough passes the part of the seabed that was lifted, it is returned back to the seabed on top of the cable.” This laying system can handle pipelines and cables up to 400 mm (16 in) diameter. However for greater diameter installations or where the use of a towed plough is impractical – depth or nature of seabed – a more robust trenching system is employed. Research is currently underway to develop trenching machines that will be able to lay pipes and cables in trenches up to 8m deep on seafloors at depths of 300m. For these more demanding tasks which are likely to become more frequently required, a free swimming ROV would struggle to apply sufficient weight and pressure compared to a tracked vehicle sitting over the pipe or cable.

Using the Right Equipment for the Job The UK Crown Estate, looking at submarine cables and offshore renewable energy installations18, highlights this issue with ROVs (remotely operated vehicles): “The smaller free swimming ROVs generally used for monitoring and simple manipulating tasks are generally deployed from a vessel directly into the water without the use of a Tether Management System (TMS). They generally have limited thruster power, which limits their operating window in terms of tidal current strength. Larger more capable ROVs collectively known as ‘Work Class’ ROVs (WROV) are of primary interest to this study as their use in cable repair operations is a significant factor 14 | WWW.OFFSHORETECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

in determining proximity limits. WROVs are the mid-range in terms of size and are fitted out for multiple roles with the ability to be adapted for specific tasks in the industry they are servicing. A third group of ROVs are the much larger cable and pipe burial vehicles generally, but not always, dedicated to a single task such as cable trenching or jetting.” Tracked trenchers look like the kind of vehicle that would be used to explore the Moon and, in a sense, they are built to work in an environment every bit as hostile and challenging. Their robust build and weight also help them to work through a number of conditions that might have delayed or halted work with free swimming ROVs. Wave action in shallower waters and currents at any depth plus the vagaries of the seabed itself are all less of a problem for a tracked vehicle.

Subsea Pipelines and Cables Pipelines have long been used to transport oil and gas: they offer a useful alternative to loading product gained from undersea installations onto tankers. “Subsea pipelines can be a feasible and cost saving alternative. Avoiding the construction of long stone jetties means less ocean bed is disturbed. Avoiding channel dredging also reduces the impacts to biologically sensitive areas and [means] less disruption to navigation during the construction and future maintenance dredging.”19 In the offshore oil and gas sector, pipelines fall into three main categories of field infrastructure (gathering product from one or several wells to a central distribution point), global infrastructure (transporting product to market) and distributing product within the market – strictly speaking onshore, but still important for the offshore industry.

Linear and Hubs Whether or not to bury a pipe or cable and to what depth is determined with a risk assessment of site conditions and external threats (anchors, fishing gear) followed by use of a ‘Burial Protection Index’ to match trench depth to the


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Sea Stallion Cable Plough Range

TRAVERSING 20DEG SLOPES WITH HORIZONTAL CHASSIS

Sea Stallion 2

Sea Stallion 3

Sea Stallion 4

SHORT RADIUS TRENCHING CAPABILITIES

need. Also, as well as the linear delivery pipes and cables from production point to shore, there is an increasing need for networks of pipes and, particularly, cables to link together the various generators in a renewable energy array. Part of the new infrastructure for renewable energy is the installation of hubs which can gather all outputs together for transmission to land. All require specialist installation and, as the seabed becomes ever more crowded with pipes and cables, the preparation of trenches and the laying of pipes will require ever more controllable equipment. For this reason, using Global Positioning System (GPS) to inform computers that control Dynamic Positioning Systems (DPS) is becoming the norm for pipe and cable laying work. As well as the preparation of a site, the way in which pipes and cables are laid varies. The two most popular methods are known as S-lay and J-lay. With S-lay, the pipe or cable is fed horizontally from the stern of a vessel, bends

downwards and, at the seafloor, bends back into a horizontal plane. Viewed from the side, this looks like a shallow letter ‘S’ but, as depth increases, the weight of suspended pipe or cable between the bends of the ‘S’ can put stress onto the materials. With J-lay, the pipe or cable is dropped vertically into the water and only bends when it reaches the seafloor (hence, it looks like a letter ‘J’) where the floor itself supplies support to minimise any stress. The task of laying pipes and cables has become much more complex and the equipment much more sophisticated to match. Therefore, operators must think carefully about what they need in order to ensure that the equipment that they use is suitable to the task in hand. With increasing environmental awareness driving much global energy policy, the growth of demand for renewable energy has led to exploitation of offshore wind power and that will require a lot of cabling to be laid in the coming years.

IHC EB’s extensive experience in the design and build of subsea trenching equipment has enabled it to develop the world-leading Sea Stallion cable plough range which set new standards in submarine cable installation and protection. The Sea Stallion has a proven ability to facilitate effective cable burial up to 3m depth.

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References: 1

MarketWatch 21 July 2015, ‘Oil prices end higher for first time in 5 sessions’:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-struggle-around-50-a-barrel-mark-2015-07-21 2

Infield Systems’ 2012 edition of the ‘Deepwater and Ultra-deepwater Market Report to 2016’:

http://www.infield.com/market-forecast-reports/deepwater-ultra-deepwater-market-report 3

Offshore Technology, ‘Future outlook: the offshore oil & gas industry in 2015’

http://www.offshore-technology.com/features/featurefuture-outlook-the-offshore-oil-gas-industry-in-2015-4443293/ 4

OSPAR Commission http://www.ospar.org/documents/dbase/decrecs/agreements/12-02e_cables%20guidelines.doc

5

3U Technologies, Submarine Cable Laying and Installation Services For the Offshore Alternative Energy Industry

http://www.3utech.com/sites/3utech.com/files/Energy%20Ocean%2008%203U%20Technologies%20080619.pdf 6

LUKOIL ‘Global Trends in Oil & Gas Markets to 2025’ http://www.lukoil.com/materials/doc/documents/Global_trends_to_2025.pdf

7

Our Finite World, ‘Ten Reasons Why a Severe Drop in Oil Prices is a Problem’

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/12/07/ten-reasons-why-a-severe-drop-in-oil-prices-is-a-problem/ 8

pwc, ‘Will low oil prices impact investment in renewables?’

http://pwc.blogs.com/energy_spotlight/2015/02/will-low-oil-prices-impact-investment-in-renewables.html 9

Renewable Energy World, ‘When Renewables Meet the Oil and Gas Industry, Opposites Attract

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/04/when-renewables-meet-the-oil-and-gas-industry-opposites-attract?page=all 10

Subsea Cables UK http://www.subseacablesuk.org.uk/download/?Id=321&source=documents

11

European Commission, ‘Climate Action’ http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/package/index_en.htm

12

RWE, ‘Offshore wind – Strong offshore growth’ http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/en/86676/rwe-innogy/sites/wind-offshore/

13

BERR, ‘Review of cabling techniques and environmental effects applicable to the offshore wind farm industry’

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.berr.gov.uk/files/file43527.pdf 14

3U Technologies, Submarine Cable Laying and Installation Services For the Offshore Alternative Energy Industry

http://www.3utech.com/sites/3utech.com/files/Energy%20Ocean%2008%203U%20Technologies%20080619.pdf 15

Wind Energy Research Group, ‘Offshore wind energy policies and their effects’ http://www.ewea.org/ewec2007/allfiles2/338_Ewec2007fullpaper.pdf

16

The Crown Estate, Submarine cables and offshore renewable energy installations

http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/media/5708/submarine-cables-and-offshore-renewable-energy-installations-proximity-study.pdf 17

Subsea Cables UK http://www.subseacablesuk.org.uk/download/?Id=321&source=documents

18

The Crown Estate, Submarine cables and offshore renewable energy installations

http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/media/5708/submarine-cables-and-offshore-renewable-energy-installations-proximity-study.pdf 19

PDH Center, ‘Offshore Oil and Gas Pipeline Basics’: http://www.pdhcenter.com/courses/c237/c237.htm

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Hi-Traq Subsea Tooling Platform

Total capability in Pipe-lay, Cable-lay and Subsea vehicle technology. IHC Engineering Business designs, builds and supplies bespoke offshore systems for the oil, gas and renewables industries. IHC Engineering Business Unit 11 Stocksfield Hall Stocksfield Northumberland T +44 161 844 519 ebl@ihcmerwede.com www.ihceb.com


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