Subsea UK News - August 2020 Special Edition - Reacting to the Impact

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SPECIAL EDITION Company responses to the coronavirus pandemic Business in the lower oil price environment

REACTING TO THE IMPACT Subsea UK News Supported by:


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Welcome to Subsea UK News

About Subsea UK Subsea UK News, produced by Subsea UK, reaches over 26,000 subsea-affiliated subscribers each issue.

2020 will be remembered for decades to come as the year everything changed due to a global pandemic. Many aspects of our normal lives have been put on hold while governments, scientists and medical experts have grappled with how best to tackle the virus. Those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home have embraced technology like never before, and others who have had no choice but to work outwith their homes deserve our gratitude for their outstanding efforts during this stressful period. The subsea industry has suffered a double blow from COVID-19 with the collapse of the oil price. It’s a bitter pill to swallow just as we were beginning to recover from a long and hard downturn. The full extent of the economic impact on the subsea industry is yet to be determined but Subsea UK has been taking the pulse of the industry with Neil Gordon, Chief snapshot surveys since the beginning of lockdown. Executive, Subsea UK Our latest findings are more encouraging than we anticipated. While there have been major redundancy programmes across the tier 1 companies, the situation among SMEs – who make up the bulk of the supply chain – does not appear quite so gloomy. Almost 75% of respondents do not anticipate making redundancies and 56% are optimistic or fairly optimistic about the next 6-12 months. The top priorities for subsea SMEs at this time are the health and safety of employees, cashflow and banking support as well as project cancellations and deferrals. These findings, coupled with subsea O&G market spend information from the likes of Rystad, make it clear that while we’re in for a very tough ride over the next six to twelve months, there are reasons to be optimistic about opportunities in Q 3 and 4 next year and beyond. Given the fragility of subsea companies due to low margins, lack of resources, cash and investment and, in many cases, considerable debt as a result of the last downturn, it’s vital that we do everything we can to protect the supply chain so that we are not constrained when those opportunities arise. Equally, the subsea supply chain has a pivotal role to play in the energy transition and the green recovery. That is why Subsea UK is at the heart of discussions with government and stakeholders, such as the OGA, to explore what is needed to stimulate projects that will help provide much needed activity across the supply chain in the short-term. Respondents to our survey revealed that their target markets remain unchanged as a result of global pandemic. In terms of geography, Europe remains a key market, followed by the Gulf of Mexico, Asia and South America. While oil and gas remains the largest market for the subsea industry, diversification into other areas of underwater engineering is more important than ever. Offshore renewables now account for almost 25% of all subsea revenues and income from aquaculture, defence and subsea mining is growing. The snapshot survey reinforced this with respondents most interested in receiving market intelligence on offshore wind and other marine renewable opportunities. According to the report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is estimated that the global blue economy will be worth $3trillion US dollars in 2030 with around $1trillion of that in O&G, offshore renewables, defence and aquaculture and it’s critical that the UK subsea industry remains well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities this presents for them and for the overall economy. Our efforts are therefore focused on working with government and stakeholders to make sure no stone is left unturned in exploring short to medium-term initiatives that will stimulate activity and keep the supply chain as robust as possible. The subsea industry is nothing if not resilient and, once more, we must demonstrate the ingenuity and determination that got us through the last downturn. This edition of Subsea UK News highlights the challenges and the herculean efforts of some of our companies in rising to meet them.

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New Members Alba Gaskets ITC Hydraulic Services Ltd

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Mako Offshore Ltd

Axiom EMI Ltd

Maxon UK & Ireland

Balgownie Ltd Resolute Energy Solutions

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Subsea UK News is a magazine which invites contributions from the subsea industry, and is published by Subsea UK. The views and opinions expressed herein are not those of Subsea UK News or its owner, Subsea UK. The opinions and views expressed herein are those solely of individual contributors, and do not reflect in any way those of Subsea UK News, Subsea UK or its staff. All materials published in this magazine are published with the consent and authority of the authors. Subsea UK News makes no representations about the suitability of any information and/or services published for any purpose. Subsea UK News is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims, all liability for, any indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages (including damages for loss of business, loss of profits, litigation, or the like) of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on any information published within this magazine. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information in Subsea UK News, no guarantee is given that the information published is correct, complete, reliable or current, and its publication in this magazine does not constitute an endorsement by Subsea UK News. To contact Subsea UK News, please email editor Dan Fearon at

Subsea UK News | August 2020


SPECIAL EDITION Image courtesy of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Astrimar Secures Innovate UK Funding for Innovative Covid-19 Response Astrimar, a specialist engineering consultancy, with a track-record helping technology developers through product approval, has won a grant worth £50,000 from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to develop a new online tool to help product developers gain rapid acceptance of technology in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic. The easy-to-use tool will be freely available later this year, to help meet the urgent need for emergency product acceptance, and will apply across a range of technologies. The tool will lead the developer through a series of questions to help them define technology and user requirements, to understand how to demonstrate and document fulfilment of the requirements so the technology can be verified/approved for use by the end-user. The tool will also support acceptance/procurement authorities reviewing the submitted evidence of the product’s fitness for purpose and certification when required. Whilst there has been an unprecedented response by many organisations and individuals to help provide the vast quantities of essential medical and PPE urgently needed by health and social care workers during the current COVID-19 pandemic, many of those inexperienced in supplying the health sector, were unaware of the certification requirements. Gaps in product development, quality control and certification processes resulted in potential wastage of uncertified and unusable medical and PPE products. Caroline Roberts Haritonov, Astrimar Managing Director said: “We believe this tool will help hundreds of small-scale producers who have responded to the pandemic with stocks of goodwill PPE and medical components, but are currently restricted from use due to lack of necessary certification and approval. We are delighted to receive the funding to enable us to develop and prove the concept, trial it as a prototype and launch it for wider use, both for the current and any future crises.”


Subsea UK News | August 2020

The funding will be used to develop the software tool and to enable collaboration with experts in advanced manufacturing at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, operated by the University of Strathclyde, product certification at Lloyds Register and the Medical Devices Unit at NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, to achieve clarity on acceptance requirements and effective best practice. Astrimar aims to develop the framework tool for accelerated technology acceptance and trial it with developer Angus 3D Solutions Ltd to help them gain acceptance for their ventilated PPE hood concept, before making it available to a wider market of technology developers over the next 12 months.

Robin Sayer, Technical Operations Manager and Head of Mechanical Engineering, Medical Devices Unit, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Medical Devices Unit have been integral to the rapid qualification and acceptance of medical devices and PPE during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will be sharing this experience to help ensure the framework is optimised to address the needs of the NHS for future emergency scenarios.”


Lockdown Opens New Doors for Forum’s Training Forum Energy Technologies has successfully delivered its VisualSoft™ training remotely for the first time after the business adapted its training format during the Covid-19 lockdown. VisualSoft is a market-leading modular range of software applications for inspection and survey of subsea pipelines and structures. Its applications provide video and survey data capture, configurable eventing, data processing, and project reporting and review.

However, we realised that three days would be more effective as we could allow for potential connectivity issues and other interruptions associated with home working.” “We also had to consider that not all attendees would have the same level of understanding or skillset. Additional time was built in to ensure individuals were given the guidance they needed to fully familiarise themselves with each application.” The general course content remained unchanged and covered advanced editing, the quality control of events, as well as processing track and profile data. Presented by VisualSoft’s technical manager in Aberdeen to the client’s eight data processors based in various UK locations, it also covered the import, export and reporting of data. The VisualSoft training was successfully delivered on time and budget, with positive feedback from the offshore team who gained a strong understanding and working knowledge of the software.

Remote VisualSoft traning

The company regularly conducts hands-on VisualSoft training with personnel to ensure they have a comprehensive knowledge of how to track and profile data ahead of asset deployment. However, just as lockdown was announced in March, Forum was contacted by a client requiring urgent training to support an imminent project that required VisualSoft for processing cable survey data. The firm moved quickly and smartly, adapting its training while ensuring it remained equally as effective. Andy McAra, product director – VisualSoft and VMAX® at Forum Energy Technologies said: “Under normal circumstances, we would have delivered the training in modules over a two-day period.

McAra continued: “The profound impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in significant changes to working practices around the world and training people is no different. Remote learning has been on the increase over the years, but prior to lockdown, we were reluctant to offer this.

“ We are still firmly of the belief that classroom training is the most effective and efficient method of delivery. That said, the success of this first remote training course has given us confidence that we can provide a quality service going forward where trainee attendance in person is just not possible.”

maxon Adapts to Emerging Demands Amidst COVID-19 maxon are a global company specialising in DC motor drive systems on some of the harshest environments on this planet and beyond. In the subsea realm maxon developed technology for thrusters used in a variety of applications, inspection systems, alignment systems, grippers and manipulators. But maxon is also a long-time partner of leading medical technology companies worldwide. The company’s products are used in medical devices such as ventilators, respirators, protection masks and lab automation. During these unprecedented times, we are fully focused on supporting the companies producing these lifesaving devices so desperately needed during this COVID-19 pandemic. maxon has launched a “medical fast track” process to ensure the best possible service for critical application needs to fight this pandemic. This fast track system is reviewed in real-time to expedite urgent requests for product. The maxon group management team (Business Unit Medical) reviews each request and matches the need with a solution - prioritising manufacturing efforts globally to ensure product production and shipment to our medical essential customers is done rapidly. William Mason, Managing Director, maxon UK & Ireland said: “As we all continue to navigate through these unique and evolving challenges,

we want our customers to know that we are here to help support the larger effort. maxon is working with our global supply chains to ensure critical demand is met. This has been made a top priority.

“ We are seeing companies coming together to offer their resources and expertise during this crisis and we understand this importance for no one company can meet these challenging times alone. We see this as our responsibility and are here to support the companies producing these medical devices used to help save lives. Together we can all make a difference.”

Subsea UK News | August 2020



Carbon Capture and Storage: Beyond Localised Projects to Integrated Carbon Storage Networks

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is expected to play an ever-increasing role in the mitigation of CO2 emissions. Projects to date have been a mix of CCS and carbon capture use and storage (CCUS). CCS results in the sequestration of CO2 in abandoned oil and gas (O&G) reservoirs and naturally occurring saline aquifers, while CCUS puts captured CO2 to work by injecting it into producing fields to boost reservoir pressure and enhance oil recovery. Throughout this article, the term CCS will apply to both CCUS and CCS processes.


Subsea UK News | August 2020

CCS has been applied to a wide range of industries since the 1970s when several natural gas processing plants in Texas began utilising carbon capture to supply CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. Since then, CCS facilities have captured and stored over two hundred million tonnes of CO2.

An example of an offshore CCUS facility can be found at the Petrobras Lula oil field off the southern coast of Brazil. Commencing CCS operations in 2013, c.0.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year are removed from produced gas and reinjected into the reservoir to enhance oil recovery.

Currently, there are 19 operational onshore/ offshore CCS facilities worldwide and a further 32 in various stages of planning and development.

Offshore projects to date can be typified as standalone facilities processing locally produced carbon and either storing in nearby saline aquifers or reinjecting CO2 into production reservoirs for enhanced oil recovery. The average CO2 capture capacity is below one million tonnes per year, but more recent projects are increasing in capacity.

The Sleipner Vest offshore CCS facility in Norway has been operational since 1996 and captures CO2 from produced natural gas from the Sleipner and Utgard fields. The facility has a capture capacity of 0.9 million tonnes per year and has injected over 20 million tonnes in total since coming onstream. The captured CO2 is stored in a saline aquifer. Also in Norway, the Snohvit project captures CO2 from an offshore gas processing facility in the Barents Sea. CCS operations started in 2008 and 0.7 million tonnes per year are injected into a saline aquifer. Shifting geography, CCS operations at the Gorgon LNG project in Australia started in 2019. CO2 is stripped from natural gas prior to liquefaction. The removed CO2 is injected into the Dupuy formation saline aquifer below Barrow Island. At full capacity, the facility is expected to inject 3.4 – 4 million tonnes of CO2 per year, equating to an emission reduction of c.40% across the project.

Currently, CCS facilities across the power generation, gas processing, fertiliser production and industrial sectors capture and store 30-40 million tonnes of CO2 a year. To understand the scale of the carbon challenge, emissions from industrial activities and the burning of fossil fuels emitted an estimated 37 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2019. Total carbon emissions from all anthropogenic activities, including agriculture and land use, are estimated to be 43 billion tonnes. Global CCS capacity in 2019 was less than 0.1% of total CO2 emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has set a CCS goal to capture 13% of worldwide CO2 emission by 2050, this equates to six to seven billion tonnes of CO2, or an increase on current CCS capacity of 17,000%. In a recent paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, Ringrose and Meckel outline a


James Hall, Analyst, Axiom EMI

requirement of c.12,000 operational CO2 injection wells to meet the IPCC 13% of worldwide emission cut target. They also highlight that the required well rate for realising global CCS in the 2020-2050 timeframe is a manageable fraction of the historical well rate deployed from historic petroleum exploration activities. The next generation of CCS projects will be larger scale, regionally integrated projects servicing carbon intensive sectors, primarily across energy, industry and power production. As an example of first steps towards the next generation project, Equinor, Shell and Total plan to develop the Northern Lights CCS project. According to the project developers, Northern Lights comprises the transport and storage scope of the Norwegian full-scale CCS project. Liquified and pressurised CO2 will be loaded from the capture site to ships which will transport it to the Northern Lights onshore terminal at Naturgassparken in Norway. At the terminal, CO2 will be offloaded from the ship into onshore intermediate storage tanks. Buffering the CO2 in onshore tanks allows for continuous transport of CO2 by pipeline to the subsea well(s) for injection into the subsurface geological storage complex located c.2,500m below the seabed, south of the Troll field. The Northern Lights projects is planned to be developed in two phases. Phase 1 Capacity to transport, inject and store up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per annum.

Phase 2 Capacity to receive, inject and store an additional 3.5 million tonnes of CO2, equating to a total capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum. Phase 2 will be triggered based on market demand from large, mostly European, CO2 emitters. The Norwegian full-scale CCS project includes the capture of CO2 from industrial sources in the Oslo-fjord region (Norcem, a cement factory in Brevik, and Fortum Oslo Varme, a waste-to-energy plant), and would utilise the Northern Lights transport, storage and injection infrastructure. The full-scale project was approved by the European Surveillance Authority (ESA) in July 2020. First CO2 injection from the first phase could take place as early as 2023/2024. The two phases of the CCS project will offer flexibility to receive CO2 from European sources, beyond the 800,000 tonnes per annum of CO2 which would come from Norcem and Fortum Oslo Varme, enabling decarbonisation through a ship-based European CO2 transport and storage network. Currently, Northern Lights has sixteen partners across seven countries interested in project participation, these include CO2 Hubs, industrial carbon emitters and other CCS storage projects. The Acorn CCS project in the UK, is one of the Northern Lights project partners. Acorn plans to capture and store CO2 from onshore gas facilities at the St. Fergus terminal, making use of existing oil and gas infrastructure, and depositing CO2 in Shell’s abandoned Goldeneye gas field. In addition,

the successful development of Acorn underpins further UK CCS developments, including potential CO2 shipping capacity from Peterhead and repurposing an existing pipeline to capture emissions from central Scotland. Assuming a successful FID next year, Acorn could come online in 2024. Considering the Covid-19 situation, the value of a large-scale CCS projects to create jobs, as well as reduce carbon emissions, is well founded. The opportunities the Northern Lights CCS project, Acorn CCS, and future global projects offer the O&G supply chain are substantial. If c.12,000 CO2 injection wells must be drilled, commissioned and maintained, the potential work created for the O&G supply chain is considerable. The potential to repurpose existing O&G infrastructure, as well as the installation of new equipment for CCS, will further drive oil field service (OFS) demand. While concerns around CCS costs and technology maturity have restricted developments to localised and project specific applications, Axiom believes the tide has turned and regional carbon networks will be a reality this decade. For the net-zero emissions targets set by the Paris Agreement to be realised, CCS as a solution for industrial sectors is key. Regional networks offer integration, scalability and flexibility to make CCS a major contributor to our green future and support the OFS industry through the energy transition.

Sources: Axiom EMI, Northern Lights CCS, Equinor, Nature Scientific Reports, Global CCS Institute, European Commission, IPCC, Ge mini News, Upstream, Carbon Brief

Subsea UK News | August 2020



Global Demand Soars for New Remote 3D Scanning Service Aberdeen-based 3D scanning specialists, Viewport3 have experienced record uptake of a new service offering following its acceleration to market to help with challenges the industry is currently facing. Having launched their new remote data capture service since the COVID-19 outbreak, the North-east firm has already secured five contracts with a collective value of £120,000. Split between existing and new clients, these contracts have an international spread, and will see the Viewport3 team working remotely on projects based in Norway, the Mediterranean, the UKCS and the US. The remote scanning service integrates Viewport3’s photogrammetry expertise with bespoke software to collect and process 3D data from offshore via remote working arrangements. The technique involves providing divers and ROV personnel with instructions for the task along with remote support, allowing them to collect the data and submit to Viewport3 for processing and analysis.

Viewport3’s remote 3D scanning software

Co-director of Viewport3, Richard Drennan, said: “We’ve

been developing and refining this system for a number of years now, but for obvious reasons it is proving an extremely valuable tool for our customers at the moment. Remote capture adds value across the board. We can use cameras that are currently fitted to the ROV, or which divers have otherwise readily available, meaning we can get to work very quickly with minimal manpower required. The volume and quality of the information we can retrieve remotely can save our customers multiple offshore campaign days and streamline future inspection tasks, all of which results in substantial cost savings.” Co-director, Chris Harvey, said: “Our remote scanning process is proving to be a life-line for the industry – enabling our customers to continue with safety and business-critical maintenance operations, despite the travel restrictions imposed as part of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While remote scanning isn’t appropriate in every single set of circumstances, or for all accuracy requirements, there are many instances where this service can answer these questions clearly and promote increased understanding of technical challenges.”

Hiretech Limited Investment Supports Subsea Sector Equipment rental business Hiretech Limited has taken receipt of newly built subsea shears and hydraulic grabs as part of a recent £600,000 investment in decommissioning equipment. The investment was encouraged following client feedback received by Hiretech’s Decommissioning and Subsea Business Development Manager, Duncan Duthie. Commenting on the investment, Mr Duthie said: “We were keen to pinpoint the correct target for our investment, and collaborated with our clients and the manufacturer to go back to first principles for the subsea shears. We now have shears specifically designed for water depths of up to 10,000 ft with performance, ease of operation and maintenance a priority.”

Hiretech CEO, Andy Buchan


Hiretech, which offers equipment rental and personnel supply to the energy and marine industries, has not been immune to the effects of COVID-19 and the recent oil price volatility, but believes the business environment has now stabilised.

Subsea UK News | August 2020

Andy Buchan, CEO, said: “Talking

to our peers and clients, it is apparent that activity drops through the worst months of the pandemic of up to 70% from last year were not uncommon, although there are definitely encouraging signs of a bump off the bottom at the moment. Like other businesses, we have had to resize, refocus and reinvigorate our team to meet the new challenges we face. We see tremendous opportunities for SMEs in the new world.”


GRi Simulations technology being used to deliver SeaFlo Marine Professionals Chartership Progression Training

SeaFlo Launches CPD Engineering Training to Support Sector Recovery and Expedite Knowledge Transfer Aberdeen headquartered SeaFlo Consultancy Ltd has invested more than £250,000 to develop a new dynamic marine and subsea training capability supported by state-of-the-art mobile simulators. Launched this week, the firm’s Marine Professionals Chartership Progression Training has been designed to help “fast-track” the careers of aspiring marine technicians to chartered engineers and technologists in the subsea industry, and aid the sector’s recovery from the coronavirus and oil price collapse The modular initiative is the first course of its kind to be recognised by both the Society for Underwater Technology (SUT) and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST). Time logged on the course will count towards achieving chartership. SeaFlo has structured the CPD recognised qualification to help expedite the process of attaining more registered professional technicians and navigate them towards chartered status. It is intended to advance the careers of existing operations technicians and up skill more engineers to marine technologists to bring to the forefront those that aspire to become industry leaders. It is also aimed at post-graduates as well as qualified chartered engineers committed to maintaining their accreditation and keeping themselves abreast of the rapidly evolving marine technology industry opportunities within a transforming industry, with offshore wind and the blue economy. The five-week e-learning courses will be delivered globally, as will conventional classroom based training by SeaFlo’s team of subsea and asset management operations engineers who have more than 200 years’ industry experience between them. The programme combines e-learning and classroom work along with dynamic virtual subsea marine operations simulation training. The animated real-life scenarios have been produced by Canadian company and Marine Technology Society award winners, GRi Simulations, to provide a safe environment for the learner to practice and achieve desired learning outcomes. GRi’s specialist software uses full 3D modelling of subsea wells and client specific field development architecture built into the mobile simulators. SeaFlo is currently using this simulation technology to train local national field technicians and engineers for a client in West Africa to support learning around subsea commissioning and life of field operations. The technology for the Marine Professionals Chartership Progression Training will be available at strategic global marine training centres via industry partnership agreements from September.

The four modules incorporate topics including well interventions, life cycle integrity, production assurance (from regulatory approvals, safety case submissions, to planning of subsea maintenance); flow line and pipeline integrity best practices; developing leadership skills; subsea installation construction and project execution; using Big Data and condition performance monitoring tools for more effective asset management; and aligning life of field operations through to phased de-commissioning. Following recent recommendations from the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), the first module also incorporates International Well Control Forum (IWCF) and well intervention pressure control training. This will support senior engineers or technical authority approval personnel working towards IWCF level 5 certification.

SeaFlo managing director Charles Reith said: “Chartered

engineers and technologists have a vital role to play in developing the production optimisation innovations and solutions that will support the sector to recover from this downturn and continue spearheading a low carbon future. However, with projects delayed or cancelled and headcounts being reduced, some industry wisdom and experience has slipped away before it can be shared with junior personnel. Therefore, seizing the moment and taking advantage of training now is a real priority for businesses.” “Our unique training programme bridges the potential skills gap and ensures the chartered engineers of tomorrow are being supported at a key moment in time.” SeaFlo’s Marine Professionals Chartership Progression Training complies with the Engineering Council UKSPEC, OPITO competency assurance requirements and the agreed BSi Group, ISO standards.

Subsea UK News | August 2020



Sheffield Forgemasters Takes Offshore Technology into Renewables Sector Sheffield based steel casting and forging specialist, Sheffield Forgemasters, is finding ways to transfer its vast experience of manufacturing for the oil and gas sector across to renewable energy markets. The company, which pioneered the materials, design and manufacture of cast nodes for offshore use and is one of the global leaders in offshore mooring and tethering systems, is targeting the burgeoning offshore renewable energy market, which shares many parallels with the oil and gas industry. Despite the variations in scale between offshore wind farms and their oil and gas platform cousins, Sheffield Forgemasters recognises that the engineering problems it has worked to solve in more than 40 years of offshore manufacture may overlap into new, green energy markets. Richard Kirtley, Sales Manager, at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “What we have come to recognise, is that many of the engineering problems facing the placement of wind farms out to the sea for example, are the same as those we have worked over a long period of time to resolve for offshore oil and gas installations. “Our Research Design & Technology team has a wealth of experience in understanding the stresses due to the load conditions and fatigue requirements placed on structures which have to operate in those harsh conditions.

“ What we are seeking to do is engage with renewables project managers at an early stage so that we can bring that experience to the table and save those people from trying to work through such specific challenges from scratch.”


Subsea UK News | August 2020

“Many elements of what we manufacture, particularly components for tethering and mooring offshore structures to the sea-bed, are essentially ready to go and proven to be effective on a global level. “Others, such as developing the use of castings that we have pioneered, could readily be reconfigured for different requirements to offer significant fabrication savings, with the removal of highly complex joints which are otherwise prone to fatigue”.

“ Even the materials that we produce, such as the ubiquitous CSN 400, have been tried and tested in the harshest operating environments in the world, offering fatigue resistance and high weldability characteristics. “Equally, where problems are posed, which do not yet have a solution, our Research Design & Technology team is one of the most capable within the offshore industry and excels at defining and innovating new engineering solutions for every sector from materials processing to civil nuclear power generation. “There is no doubt that, as the renewable energy sector expands further into offshore environments, the capabilities that we can offer can play a huge part in accelerating and future-proofing those projects.”


Wood on The Blue Economy’s Future: Embracing the Challenge by Matt Kirk, Senior Vice President of Specialist Engineering and Consulting, Wood.

Our world continues to face various levels of uncertainty, from a global pandemic to an increasingly volatile global economy; yet there is still a common goal for humanity’s future that has never been more clearly defined: a cleaner, low-carbon planet. For over 170 years, Wood has been unlocking solutions to the world’s most critical challenges. We are driven by ingenuity and while we may not have all the answers today, we are planning on it for tomorrow! This includes the future of the blue economy, which focuses on the sustainable use of ocean resources for improved livelihoods, economic growth and the health of the ocean’s ecosystem. As a central player in the blue economy, Wood has a responsibility to see it thrive and to ensure it contributes to a successful energy transition.

environments, and using technology enabled automated design. These pipelines will support the energy transition carrying hydrogen, ammonia and even water in a resource constrained world. I am proud to see how these women and men are turning their hands to the challenges of energy transition, by developing offshore wind and tidal clean energy solutions.

Innovation, agility and uncompromising determination are some of the attributes that have made the blue economy successful in the past. These attributes must continue to support and inspire us through the energy transition and into the next chapter. Humanities’ needs compel us to evolve our services and solutions; to inspire not only our people, but also the next generations who will provide diversity and innovation to the industry that makes the world more sustainable.

Countries and businesses are already setting aggressive decarbonisation targets. Not only is society demanding change, so too are shareholders and investors. A recent study found 49% of the world’s GDP is now covered by net-zero targets. These carbon targets are morally right and scientifically necessary. To be honest, I personally do not know how we are going to get there, but what an exciting adventure we have ahead of us! I see a parallel to the aspiration of putting man on the moon - who would have the audacity to do that! We must dream big, and that is part of the culture at Wood where we are powered by possible.

Wood has been the global leader in subsea solutions for over 40 years and has some of the brightest and experienced subsea engineering experts. As a systems integrator, we use our expertise to solve our client’s biggest challenges with cutting-edge partner technologies. I see our experts design subsea pipelines to transport much needed energy through some of the planet’s harshest

The blue economy must embrace this global challenge and lead the charge. Let us turn up the innovation, imagination, and inspiration; re-ignite the entrepreneurial spirit, work with agility and pace to meet these aggressive targets. We must approach this challenge with the gusto of a team whose life depends on it – because for future generations, it does.

MAATS Tech Face COVID-19 Challenge Head-on Over the past 30+ years MAATS has faced many challenges of fluctuations in the industry and the economy. The company has weathered each storm by being innovative, stoic and continuing to provide dependable, high quality engineering as a priority. The current crisis has presented challenges never faced by anyone before and the industry has had to adapt to survive. MAATS Tech have focused on finding solutions to ensure the project work and business development processes continue on-time and in budget. Supported by their team of experienced project managers and engineers, MAATS have pushed forward the delivery of their current project work while continuing to secure new contracts. The company have found remote support an extremely valuable tool. With the receipt of a request from a major client in Brazil for the upgrade and modification of software on their mission equipment, which would require working alongside a 3rd party supplier, MAATS Service and Support team had to think outside the box. The customary process MAATS follows for providing this kind of support request would consist of an engineer attending site after preparing all the necessary paperwork, attending a vessel briefing on arrival before carrying out the modifications and finally testing to ensure the equipment works without issues. This is the usual preferred process due to the complex nature of software changes. With the ban on travel and social distancing protocols being put into place, MAATS had to adapt to a revised way of providing the same high quality, expert support without physically attending the vessel. MAATS recognised that one of the major concerns with remote access is the possibility of poor connectivity, with the internet systems on board offshore vessels known for unreliability. MAATS considered this issue when developing a new, project specific, Software Change

procedure. By implementing these specific risk assessments and creating a stringent test procedure, this technique ensured that the client could remotely test and manage any potential new issues that could have appeared as a result of the update. Fortunately in this case there were none.

Managing Director, Lisa Edwards, said: “The

efficiency of this type of support from software modification to the completion of the test procedure has shown how MAATS and the client have been able to reduce operation downtime, perform the job quicker and have the bonus of cost savings.”

MAATS Tech Support services is making sure that the “new normal” that we are all finding ourselves means a positive change to mindsets and attitudes for innovation, adaptability and urgency with the result in pushing the industry forward.

Subsea UK News | August 2020



Making Good Use of a Crisis by Stuart Payne, Director of Supply Chain, Decommissioning & HR, Oil and Gas Authority (OGA)

It’s hard to describe the context that has existed since Q1 this year without using clichés. The triple whammy of COVID-19, the oil price drop and the gas price drop landed on an industry that was steadily recovering from the latest downturn, but with a supply chain that was still challenged. I believe that our industry has always been at its best is when it has come together, whether tackling ground-breaking technological projects, delivering extraordinarily large-scale developments or responding at speed to protect our people. This was in evidence in the response to the new challenges that arrived with COVID-19, and I’d like to share some examples with you. Firstly, I’d like to pay tribute to the focus on safety. Credit should go especially to organisations like OGUK and their partners who had to tackle how COVID could be faced by an industry with a large offshore and maritime population. Collective behaviours around safe working practices were delivered with real speed, including ensuring that medivacs would be there for those who needed them. Secondly, the Supply Chain & Exports Taskforce (including Subsea UK colleagues) worked hard on the next phase of recovery. The taskforce focused on three areas: immediate recovery; diversification; and the long-term shape of the supply chain. On immediate recovery there is work underway to prioritise a return to the comprehensive maintenance plans that had been set for 2020, as soon as is safe and possible. This work considers how to -boost drilling activity through a wells P&A campaign pilot as well as the proposal to create the Global Underwater Hub (more on this below). The diversification workstream is looking at how to support UK supply chain companies to access other markets through exports and in other non-oil and gas sectors. The team has worked to identify hundreds of billions of pounds worth of opportunities that exist, and

to develop targeted webinar sessions for companies looking at the ventures for the first time. Now going back to theme of clichés, they say it’s important to not waste a crisis. As well as the triple whammy affecting the industry, there remains the largest change of all: meeting our net zero obligation. This leads me on to the final taskforce workstream – looking to the future. We believe that in addition to its world-class reputation in oil and gas, we can establish the supply chain as a specialist engineering, manufacturing, services and technology sector to support the energy transition. This could secure the UK as a global exporter of expertise in net zero activities, subsea, decommissioning and digital – something that is absolutely aligned to the Sector Deal that is being developed by industry and which will ultimately need to be negotiated with government. Part of this transformation can be seen in the proposals for the Global Underwater Hub, a national network of subsea excellence that builds on the Subsea UK history, It will help encourage expansion and further diversification both domestically and overseas whilst crucially working to secure the tens of thousands of subsea jobs that exist in the UK today. You may have seen that the Scottish Government have signalled their support in principle for the project, and the proposals are currently being reviewed by the UK government who are working closely with the project team. It’s a tough time out there for businesses and individuals alike. Right now, collaboration and partnership are needed more than ever, as we look to future recovery for the industry, and whilst it might be a bumpy road ahead it’s going to be exciting to see what the next chapter holds for our world-class subsea sector.

Entrenched Champions Online Dispute Resolution and Mediation in the COVID Era At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, Entrenched moved away from the traditional philosophy of face to face mediations and expanded its use of online and remote meditation solutions to new and existing clients. This move has given disputing parties; companies and individuals, the support, ability, and just as important, a much-needed secure and confidential platform enabling them to continue to look at all their available options for a speedy resolution to the dispute rather than continuing on with the risk of ending up in an expensive litigation. With settlement figures in the region of 85%, the success rates of online mediations are similar to those of face to face mediations. Carrying out mediation by video conferencing has the same binding agreement, confidentiality and without prejudice clauses as a face to face mediation. It also has some distinct advantages during the lockdown, i.e. reduction in the exposure to and the significant risk of infection, no travelling on public transport, lower costs, etc. Online or remote mediation is not a new concept to dispute resolution. It has been used effectively, in some form or other, as part of the mediation and the broader dispute resolution process for many years. In 1998, a pilot project was conducted for an online based business to assess whether disputes between buyers and sellers could be mediated online. More than 150 disputes were handled in a two-week period and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) became an established feature. By 2010, over 60 million ODR disputes were being handled each year.


Subsea UK News | August 2020

Right now, there is no alternative to online mediation. It may be thought that that it is better to postpone addressing a dispute, but postpone it until when? What impact will postponing the dispute have? What impact will it have when the business is ready to start up again? What short and/or long-term damage does it have with ongoing business relationships?

Steve Garven, Entrenched expert mediator, said: “COVID-19 has created even more conflict in nearly every civil and commercial sector with contractual, landlord, non-performance disputes mounting by the day. For a multitude of reasons, parties need to continue to be able to resolve their disputes, online mediation gives the parties that workable and effective solution.


Boskalis Subsea Services Tests all its Vessel Workers to Ensure Continued Operations Preventing the spread of coronavirus remains key for employers across the energy sector with the implementation of screening, increased hygiene procedures and reduced headcounts on assets becoming the norm. Contagious diseases such as COVID-19, thrive in confined spaces. For vessel owners, offering protection from a respiratory illness once the asset has left the dock presents complex issues for containment. Add in saturation divers, and there are further ramifications for safely resurfacing a sick diver - or the entire team - for medical treatment. While some companies have focused on solely testing their divers, Boskalis Subsea Services has gone the extra mile with its Offshore Coronavirus Response Plan. It takes a robust and fully encompassing approach by testing all personnel who join its vessels. The Aberdeen headquartered business unit has a fleet of three dive support vessels (DSV) with capabilities to support various campaigns. This includes inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) projects; subsea, umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF) operations; engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning (EPIC) work; and decommissioning. Its largest two DSVs are sister ships - the Boka Atlantis and Boka Da Vinci. Each can accommodate up to 18 divers and 120 personnel maximum, depending on work scope requirements. The nimble DP-2 Constructor has capacity for 12 divers and 70 personnel. Aligned to World Health Organisation guidelines, Boskalis Subsea Services’ response plan includes onshore isolation and quarantine prior to COVD-19 testing. Gloves, masks and hand-sanitisers are provided. Vessels are marked up for social distancing and gangways are now one-way. Daily temperature checks are carried out on all onboard to monitor for sickness. Divers are also required to undergo additional fitness, lung function and oxygen saturation testing. Once subsea, the crews are

committed to maintaining a high standard of equipment and satchamber hygiene. Since March, the firm has carried out more than 4,000 tests on its offshore crews working on contracts in the Middle East and North Sea. Tim Sheehan, global business development and strategy director for Boskalis Subsea Services said: “We have been extremely busy during the lockdown period with a number of new contracts being awarded and projects commencing which gives us confidence in the underlying strength and performance of the business.

“ Throughout this period, protecting our people has been paramount. Involving everyone in this process has been vital; coronavirus could just as easily be passed on via an asymptomatic chef preparing food as it could via the dive techs checking saturation equipment pre-dive, for example.” “Our teams have completely embraced our approach and it’s very reassuring that none of our offshore dive team has tested positive for the virus. All our campaigns have been completed as planned and it is testament to the strategy working and everyone looking after each other.”

Boka Atlantis 2

Subsea UK News | August 2020



Keeping a Critical Sector Going in the Coronavirus Crisis By Isabel DiVanna, Executive Director, RenewableUK

Like every other sector, the renewable energy industry has had to adapt quickly and radically to the unprecedented changes we’ve seen since the pandemic struck the UK in March. All along the way, our overriding concern has been the safety of our workforce and that of the public. That’s meant introducing new guidelines for those of us who can’t work from home, covering everything from travelling safely to work, to staggering shift times, to keeping a safe distance, wearing the right PPE and disinfecting everything we touch. This has enabled us to keep going throughout the Coronavirus crisis, as the Government designated energy as a critical sector for the UK; we are keeping hospitals, homes and businesses powered up. We’re also keeping the future pipeline of projects on track, to avoid losing capacity in the years ahead, so that we can continue to make progress towards the Government’s net zero emissions target. We can’t afford to slide backwards; we need to ensure we maintain security of supply for the long term and tackle the other massive global challenge of our times, climate change. We’ve maintained our momentum; since lock-down was imposed on 23rd March, UKbased companies working in the wind industry alone have announced contracts and investments in new projects worth more than £4bn, creating over 2,000 UK jobs at a time when economic activity in other sectors has been shrinking. And if the Government takes steps to maximise the economic benefits of renewable energy, such as investing in new port infrastructure for offshore wind, next year’s

auctions for contracts to generate clean power can secure over £20bn of investment and create 12,000 jobs. This is the green economic recovery written large. Supporting innovation and the growth of the UK supply chain is vital to maximising the benefits of the clean energy transition. This has been happening during lock-down. For example, in June Subsea 7 in Aberdeen announced it had won a multi-million-pound contract from SSE Renewables for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of turbine foundations and cables for their major offshore wind farm project in the Firth of Forth. Cable companies are an important part of our supply chain, which is why we’re proud to be hosting a virtual event, Cables 2020, with Subsea UK on 24th November. This will highlight the global opportunities in offshore wind for cable manufacturers, suppliers and installers, sharing information and problem-solving with expert panels, presentations and workshops. It’s another example of how we can continue to do business, despite these extraordinary circumstances. So we hope you’ll join us as we continue to build the clean energy system of the future which this country needs. We’re determined to maximise the economic and environmental benefits that the energy transition is bringing to the UK.

Namaka Expand into the Virtual Space The beginning of 2020 started on a high for Namaka Subsea with lots of requests and work lined up for the coming year. Then the bombshell in March was dropped: a global pandemic, lockdown, and everything that followed. As oil prices dropped and word began to spread of job losses affecting thousands of people, the situation did not look good. However, the team at Namaka Subsea chose to focus on the positives, and adapted quickly to the situation. Working from home, Namaka decided to further develop its training courses and, having purchased video conferencing software, it made sense to combine the two. As the team began marketing this new remote learning service, Namaka was pleasantly surprised by the number of enquiries received. The response was overwhelming, and Namaka kicked it all off by running its first remote learning course Diving Operations Auditing and Assurance Awareness via a new online classroom. Following on from this, Namaka quickly realised that it could also utilise this new system in other ways and developed a process that allowed its auditors to remain active and support clients during this time. The process allowed auditors to liaise on a one to one basis with


Subsea UK News | August 2020

diving personnel to audit systems via an audio/video link. Further technical and operational support has been provided remotely utilising the new system, including Diving Technical Authority support, Subsea Engineering support, the development of Client safety management systems and the completion of Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis assessments. The process is supported on both Windows and Apple operating systems as well as Mobile phones and tablets, and was set up as a temporary solution during COVID-19 to ensure the safety of diving personnel was not compromised due to the omission of diving system audits. Namaka Subsea are confident that the current situation will not deter them from continued operations and support to clients. Although the company is taking all safety measures to combat COVID-19, it will also continue to operate to ensure safe and efficient operations, meeting client requirements and expectations around the world.


Proserv: Backing Strategy and Technology in Challenging Times Iain Smith, Senior VP, Proserv Controls describes current and future approaches to dealing with the on-going headwinds.

It’s fair to say the past few months have been like nothing witnessed in more than a hundred years, since a deadly flu pandemic swept across the globe. Words such as “unprecedented” have been used liberally across news platforms to describe the times we are living through. Terms such as “social distancing” have rapidly become engrained in everyone’s psyche and everyday lives. Yet this is 2020, not 1918, and huge advances in both scientific research and technology have meant that, despite the challenges we have all faced, life has managed to be protected and safeguarded while carrying on as best it can, whether via logistical adaptations or remote working. For those in the oil and gas industry, the headwinds have been particularly intense as the onset of a worldwide health emergency coincided with a collapse in oil prices. This perfect storm has inevitably led to project delays and cancellations, softening work backlogs for many firms.

Streamlined and agile

The Kimberlite 2020 Subsea Equipment & Services Supplier Performance Report revealed international operators will direct 56% of their expenditure up to 2022 solely on brownfield production enhancement and expansion. The Kimberlite study also found that the mean time between failures for subsea equipment is just 22 months, with control modules being the likeliest culprit. At Proserv, we trust our coexistence technology and our core strategy are already attuned to current market directions, whether that is enabling moderate gains to be realised via affordable field extensions or providing reliable control modules. In the coming months, all oilfield service providers will need to develop nimble, relevant and smart strategies to survive in a world of slim margins, reduced investment and further potential volatility.

At Proserv we understand that oil and gas can be a cyclical business, subject to price spikes and troughs, because of a myriad of factors. As an oilfield services provider, we were not immune to the severe downturn of 2015 and the fall-out of that enabled us to restructure and refocus our business on our core strength of controls technology. By the autumn of 2019 we had divested ourselves of non-core units and activities, adopting a leaner, streamlined and more agile model. So when the combined impact of the Covid-19 virus and lower prices first hit, we were perhaps better positioned than many to roll with the initial punches as we had already been through a process of rightsizing our business. But no firm, in almost any sector, can remain immune to the consequences of such a day-to-day paralysis for long. Our priority remains the well-being and safety of our employees and their families spread around the globe. We have now lived with the implications of Covid-19 for several months and from a health and safety viewpoint, our technicians have incorporated new regimens around hygiene, social distancing and mask wearing where required, in addition to their normal practices. From an operational perspective, one of the biggest challenges has been balancing the critical need to fulfil contract obligations, while different regions have been at varying stages of the pandemic’s timeline. So, while a Norwegian facility might be functioning at almost normal capacity, a site in the Arabian Peninsula could be subject to strict curfews and local lockdowns. As we enter H2, uncertainty underlies how effectively wider industrial activity gets back up to speed and whether threats of a substantial second wave of the virus prove accurate. The future trajectory of the oil price will be controlled by those factors.

Trends and technology With the subsea sector naturally seeing a pullback in expenditure, all industry trends point to more modest and cautious project developments, plus a need for ever greater reliability from control systems technology to enhance efficiencies and maintain production. Iain Smith, Senior VP, Proserv Controls

Subsea UK News | August 2020



C-Kore Saving Customers Money and Reducing Risk during Pandemic C-Kore Systems have helped several customers save money on campaigns during a difficult period where both COVID-19 and low oil prices are significantly impacting offshore operations. C-Kore’s pre-programed testing tools do not require specialised personnel, reducing offshore headcount and infection risk. The automated technology also reduces time needed for offshore testing, making them more economical to operate than traditional downline or platform-led approaches, at a time where cost-saving is a major focus. C-Kore’s subsea testing tools are used on both fault-finding and installation operations to determine the health of subsea electrical systems. The Cable Monitor unit tests the insulation resistance and continuity of each electrical line, while the Subsea TDR unit localises faults with an accuracy of around 15cm. The new Sensor Monitor reads and records data from subsea sensors without needing a Subsea Control Module. Cynthia Pikaar, Sales Manager at C-Kore, said: “The requirement for isolation and testing of personnel before offshore mobilisation is creating headaches for our customers. As well as the logistical challenges, these new requirements increase the cost of offshore work. At least with C-Kore tools no specialist technicians are required, as the tools are pre-programed, automated, and selfcontained to allow for simple subsea testing. With fewer personnel comes reduced risk and reduced cost for the offshore campaign.”

Greg Smith, General Manager at C-Kore, said: “In the midst of trying times for the Oil C-Kore Tronic & Gas industry many operators are choosing to delay offshore operations in light of the low oil price. However, some jobs cannot wait. Where offshore testing is required, either due to a fault in an existing field or where a new cable must be installed, C-Kore tools prove a quick and simple means of ensuring the best possible outcome, while realising significant time and cost-savings.”

DeepOcean Launches Remote Operations Centre and Reduces Carbon Footprint DeepOcean is renowned for being an innovative and dynamic company, characteristics which have been essential to its successful response to the challenges of 2020. DeepOcean recently launched the DeepOcean Remote Operations Centre or ROC, a bespoke and fully functional onshore facility near Haugesund, Norway, where DeepOcean remotely operates ROVs hundreds of miles away from the convenience of onshore. The ROC is tried and tested, and the first projects have been successfully executed, operating WROVs onboard DeepOcean vessels. 2019 saw the launch of a DeepOcean sustainability program aiming to reduce the environmental impact of its offshore operations. A new fuel consumption monitoring system was implemented across the fleet, delivering improved fuel efficiency of more than 15% in 2020 compared with 2019 operations. Carbon footprint is reduced, whilst reducing cost in a highly competitive market. In the year to date, DeepOcean secured or completed 18 projects in the UK sector and more than 70 worldwide, delivering diverse subsea services including IMR, ROV deployed advanced NDT, Subsea Construction, Cable Lay, trenching, and decommissioning activities. DeepOcean’s remote operations centre

The ROC can operate with any vessel in the DeepOcean fleet wherever there is sufficient internet connectivity (4G - LTE) coverage. Remote operations present a huge benefit to many offshore projects and will be the driving force behind evolution in standard operating practices in the offshore industry. DeepOcean believes in the future for remote operations and is at the forefront of the development, and the delivery of such technologies.


Subsea UK News | August 2020

DeepOcean has secured significant decommissioning work across the North Sea, strengthening its position in the UK sector, securing work through to 2023. This award is a testament to the ‘can-do’ attitude in the DeepOcean crew who have embraced many of the new ways of working during coronavirus restrictions. The pandemic and the resulting restrictions present a unique opportunity to innovate and challenge prevailing norms. In doing so, DeepOcean is ensuring that it exits this period of change stronger and more resilient into a dynamic subsea market.

SPECIAL EDITION Webtool’s cable gripper hire fleet

Webtool Expedites Development of Cable Gripper Hire Fleet During Pandemic Hydraulic tools specialist, Webtool, has responded to the current crisis with the development of its first equipment hire fleet the CRT200 Cable Gripper Hire Fleet. The only DNV-GL approved cable recovery tool, the CRT200 allows the safe and controlled subsea recovery of damaged cable and umbilical up to 1500 metres water depth. Designed for large diameter cable up to 203 mm (8”) diameter, the CRT200 cable gripper provides a streamlined cable recovery where the gripper, guided by an ROV, is lowered onto the end of the cable with minimal clearing of the soil around the cable or umbilical. The mechanically locked gripping action ensures the cable cannot escape during retrieval; moreover, the hot stab version contains an internal clutch mechanism to prevent excessive damage from overtightening. By gripping the end of the cable, it makes subsequent handling much easier, enabling the cable to be recovered to a reeler or spooler on the surface vessel. The CRT200 cable gripper weighs approx. 600 kg and has a maximum load capacity of 20 tonnes. It is available with hydraulic hot stab or torque bucket interface options and can be deployed subsea for up to 20 days between recovery projects.

“ The coronavirus has allowed us the time to bring forward our plans to develop an equipment hire fleet with an initial three CRT200 Cable Retrieval Tools available for immediate hire,” says Keith Elliot, managing director, Allspeeds Ltd. “We’re looking at a more dynamic energy market so will continue our development of long term deployment ROV and pipeline tools as operators look for greater operational flexibility.” Developed in consultation with international certification body and classification society, DNV-GL, the CRT200 Cable Retrieval Tool is the only cable and umbilical retrieval tool to meet the exacting design codes and standards for marine operations, and offshore and platform lifting appliances. Specifically, the CRT200 satisfies the requirements of DNVGL-ST-N001 Marine Operations & Marine Warranty, June 2016 and DNVGL-ST-0378 Standard for Offshore & Platform Lifting Appliances, May 2016. The CRT200 is available from Webtool or Aleron Subsea as part of the ROVQUIP range. The Webtool CRT200 Cable Retrieval Tool is designed and manufactured in the UK exclusively by Allspeeds Ltd.

Subsea UK News | August 2020



Capturing Blue Economy Business Opportunities: Addressing the Challenges from the Low Oil Price By Tony Laing, Director of Research and Market Acceleration at NSRI

The current global subsea spend, across the offshore energy sector is around £20bn, with the UK in a dominant position having a 40% share of almost £8billion. However, the global value of the subsea sector is set to increase to approximately £140billion by 2035 across a number of Blue Economy sectors in Offshore Energy, Defence and Aquaculture. This provides an opportunity for UK expertise to assist in not only sustainability, but potential growth despite the low oil price. The key to these wider opportunities is to be able to perform a deep-dive and taking a measurable assessment of the diverse markets and the driver for the low carbon future. The UK has an unrivalled track record of technological innovation, but ideas frequently fail between invention and commercialisation. To help cross this chasm, the National Subsea Research Institute (NSRI) has developed a tool which provides a clear indication of potential commercial viability of early stage technology in the subsea industry, supporting technology and innovation developers, funding organisations and investors. By measuring the viability of a technical concept through analysis of various factors including market conditions and funding requirements, the tool provides a systematic approach and helps identify exactly where pioneering companies should be focusing their efforts. Tony Laing, director of research and market acceleration at NSRI, said: “As an enabling organisation, we are dedicated to understanding demand-led technology gaps and supporting supplier-led technology solutions. With our unique combination of deep domain knowledge and impartiality, we are in prime position to take a lateral approach to cross-industry challenges and priorities in terms of technology requirements. In the current precarious economic climate, technology development and innovation has never been more important, but it must be underpinned with a sound business case. “Our tool visualises uncertainties and shows exactly where effort should be focused to drive maximum business value and return on investment. That could be towards internal resources, delivering the technology or external market-led factors. The outputs are also incredibly valuable for allowing investors and stakeholders to understand the existence of customer-led demand.

“ The energy landscape is changing at an incredible rate, and the UK’s subsea industry is well-placed to capitalise on the many opportunities surrounding the blue economy, energy transition and digitalisation. However, capturing opportunities and implementing robust commercial thinking is going to be key for success.”

One company which has directly benefited from support provided by NSRI, is SMS. Established in 2004, SMS provides sensory data analysis and visualisation for the oil and gas industry. SMS development director, Alistair Moncur, said: “During these challenging times, dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and volatility in hydrocarbon prices, building opportunities in a low carbon future has been pivotal for SMS. “NSRI has helped shape our strategic growth and diversification planning in the UK and internationally through their comprehensive commercialisation approach. This has included exploring the wider energy transition and other aspects of the blue economy, such as defence. By enabling us to understand the commercial advantages of incorporating a digital AI system into our core technology, we have created significant growth opportunity and the potential to quadruple the size of our market over the short to medium term.” NSRI reflects that there are significant opportunities for the subsea community adapting their skills and learnings honed over decades in oil and gas, defence and other industries.


Technology & Innovation

NSRI Research

If you’d like to utilise the new tool developed by NSRI, contact 18

Subsea UK News | August 2020


Viper Innovations Increases Remote Monitoring Options for Subsea Customers Like many businesses modifying standard operating procedures and processes to mitigate risk and operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic has received significant focus at Viper Innovations. Edward Davies, Managing Director explains some of the new methods the company has introduced to ensure the seamless continued use of their products and services, assisting customers to minimise their costs both during the pandemic and beyond. “Providing high levels of customer service is always a key priority for our business and so when the pandemic hit it was important we were able to react quickly and switch our focus to the provision of remote asset monitoring and service support options for our clients. This has actually been relatively seamless and made possible by introducing some of our new software applications as well as creating some additional alternatives. “Firstly, by using our V-ASSURE portal software our clients can monitor their entire subsea control system status remotely. V-ASSURE was designed to provide a clear picture of the status of a customer’s asset as well as provide tools to help informed decision making. We created the bespoke V-ASSURE Portal software application to allow customers to access a complete management system dashboard from their desktop, wherever they are working in the world. This allows them to remotely evaluate and mitigate risks to their subsea control system and avoid any costly downtime. “We have also been able to introduce remote V-LIM installations as an alternative to mobilising one of our engineers. By creating an enhanced 15967 Events 1 06/08/2020 16:01 V-LIMSubseaUK customer installation procedure we can now help a competent offshore engineer fit the monitor themselves while being guided through the process by one of our expert onshore team members.

“Finally, customers can now send spare Subsea Output Modules (SOMS) direct to our facilities to be upgraded with a V-LIM to make them V-LIFE ready should they wish to enable that service. We can now offer the option of remote FAT witnessing by customers or 3rd parties eliminating the Covid-19 risks of travelling to witness on site. Once refurbished the SOMS are sent back to the customer for installation.”

“ Wherever possible we have found a solution to provide additional remote support and monitoring to our clients. We will continue to look at other ways to ensure that our subsea customers are not inconvenienced or left without options when it is not safe or practical for our team to visit them onsite.”

Serious about your subsea business? We’re serious about helping you develop your business! The voice of the subsea industry. Working for its Members | Supporting and Promoting Providing Leadership | Driving Collaboration | Influencing | Internationalising | Adding Value Underwater Robotics Conference 1-3 September 2020 Virtual Event

Cables 2020 in Collaboration with Renewable UK 24 November 2020 Virtual Event

AOG 2021 10-12 March 2021 Perth, Australia

Fundamentals of Subsea Systems 1-day Course (October & November) Virtual Event

Subsea Expo 2021 23-25 February 2021 P&J Live, Aberdeen, UK

Brazil Showcase with Department for International Trade 16-18 March 2021 Rio de Janerio

These are some of Subsea UK’s events but please visit our website for full details of all forthcoming events. 19 Subsea UK | August 2020


Rotech Subsea Expands into New Markets During Oil Price Slow-down Despite the unprecedented global pandemic, Aberdeen-based trenching and excavation specialist, Rotech Subsea, has continued to operate at capacity servicing the burgeoning renewables sector in Europe and Asia. Furthermore, against a backdrop of historically low oil prices, which has seen the de-lay of key oil and gas projects globally, Rotech Subsea has been busy accessing new markets in home waters and overseas, including completing nationally vital port/logistics and alternative energy projects in the UK and as far afield as Bangladesh and Taiwan. “I think the current business environment is uncharted waters for everyone,” says Stephen Cochrane, Director at Rotech Subsea, which designs, builds and operates its second generation ‘RS’ range of noncontact trenching and excavation tools. “Throw in the low oil price and it makes for an extremely challenging landscape to operate in. “Despite these unprecedented challenges, I’m delighted to say that Rotech Subsea has seen work continue on vital infrastructure projects in various sectors around the globe - with our teams strictly adhering to regional safety protocols and quarantine regulations.”

June 2020 saw Rotech Subsea loading up its state-of-the-art TRS2 and TRS1-LD Controlled Flow Excavation (CFE) and Suspended Jet Trenching tools to sail from Aberdeen to Taipei, Taiwan to work on two state-owned wind energy projects. The TRS2 will complete a sandwave clearance for a new client won on the back of Rotech’s unrivalled European track record in renewables. The TRS1-LD jet trencher will concurrently complete a cable array trenching scope for a major long term tier one client.

“ I think we are all keen to see the oil price recover,” says Cochrane. “But we have viewed the slow-down in oil and gas projects as a huge opportunity for Rotech Subsea to grow and service our global client base in other sectors like renewables, port/ logistics and alternative energy.” During the UK lockdown, Rotech Subsea completed a critical quayside stress testing scope at Peel Port’s new deep-water container terminal at the Port of Liverpool. The company was contracted by BAM International to carry out the bespoke testing and monitoring project, which saw a customised TRS2 deployed to simulate bow thruster loads on the quay wall and the protective rock berm below. With this critical national infrastructure project carried out during lockdown, there were unique challenges to overcome, particularly around data acquisition and communication, collating all the information together then distributing it in real time to various parties in remote locations. Rotech Subsea were delighted to have met all requirements for performance and data monitoring. The port project adds to Rotech Subsea’s impressively varied track record in the sector, with harbour clearances, berth deepening, debris clearance, route clearance for cable lay, structural jacket and template access and general IRM scopes completed in the last 18 months. In further evidence of diversification, Rotech Subsea recently demobbed after successfully completing a seabed flattening scope in Bangladesh for Max Group. Rotech’s TRS2 tool was mobilised to carry out preparatory works for a new Government-backed nuclear energy facility.

Rotech TRS2 in H position


Subsea UK News | August 2020

“ We are really happy to have continued to experience growth during what we thought could be extremely challenging times,” says Cochrane. “It’s a testament to the capabilities of our equipment and the dedication of our people. As we see the economy start to recover from the effects of the pandemic, we are already experiencing extremely high demand for our services for the rest of the year.”


UK Defence Solutions Centre Weathers the Storm by Chris Shepherd, Head of Innovation (Maritime), UK Defence Solutions Centre

It would not be right to start this article without first offering our thoughts to those companies and staff working in the oil and gas business who have been hard hit during this crisis. We are fortunate in that during the global lock down Defence matters were still on every country’s agendas, with increased activity from Russia around UK waters and a continued military presence required from across the UK Armed Forces. To that end across the maritime defence industry there was a strong push to maintain business as usual, certainly in the support services areas across the breadth of the supply chain. Some of the more developmental projects were impacted with delays while staff got used to working from home, but this slack in staff was somewhat taken up by the multiple ventilator challenges around the UK and it was fantastic to see the Defence industry turn their hand to something else so quickly. The UK Defence Solutions Centre itself has found itself as busy as usual, either supporting the networking of organisations to get involved with the afore mentioned challenges or learning how to maintain international dialogue through a virtual environment. We are pleased to say it didn’t take long before we were hosting our first virtual conferences between Japan and the UK and expanding on that to start linking up with other nations. Regrettably the Subsea Autonomous Systems: Next Generation Technologies innovation competition we brokered throughout 2019 with the cross-sector application and sponsors from offshore energy and the Royal Navy has had to be postponed, we had a fantastic response from across both the offshore energy and defence sectors

as well as SMEs and academia. With the next stage of the process being the residential 5-day innovation lab, it was inevitable with social distancing this was unavoidably delayed. Work is currently underway with Innovate UK to ensure we can hold this lab sooner rather than later with suitable safety measures put in place. Fortunately, the success of the cross sector innovation challenge has still be seen across the stakeholder community and with it was born the second CSI challenge in specialist electric vehicles in partnership with the UK Propulsion Centre and our 3rd CSI currently being established in smart wearables. Finally, as we all start seeing the lock down measures easing, we now look to the future and how best to learn some of the valuable lessons that we all had thrust upon us unexpectedly. How do we maintain a robust virtualised environment that best enables remote working while staff and meetings start returning to the office? Being cognisant of other people’s risk appetite in regard to social distancing is something we will all have to learn to measure quickly and be responsive to, plus additional support to those friends and colleagues who have maybe been shielding for long periods of time and need help in transitioning back in to work and life.

TenzorGEO Refines Tech in Lockdown TenzorGEO has shown flexibility and resilience in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the oil price slump to create new cost-saving opportunities for its ocean-bottom passive microseismic technology. While continuing to develop the offshore application of low frequency seismic (LFS) sounding technology to help identify small pools and treble the chance of drilling a successful well, the company is now also focussing on its full wave location technology (FWL) as a monitoring, measurement and verification (MMV) tool in reservoirs in which CO2 is being stored. The company was one of the pioneer graduates of the Oil and Gas Technology Centre’s TechX accelerator programme. Its ground-breaking technology, backed by half a century of scientific research, has demonstrated it can help the oil and gas industry save millions of pounds. A North Sea field trial enabled significant progress in refining it to maximise its potential. As a result, TenzorGEO was in conversation with several companies about further field trials which it hoped could be deployed this year. “However, the coronavirus pandemic has halted all that,” said Dr Roy Bitrus, Director of Sales. “All our conversations and projects in which we expected to be involved have been pushed back - but we didn’t want to stand still. “We have been working to make these projects even more cost effective; we have kept the company and our activities visible; we have educated industry professionals on the technologies we offer through a series of webinars, but we also looked elsewhere in the sector for opportunities. “Our first priority is the welfare of our team and not only have we retained everyone we have strengthened it by hiring an industry CCS

expert to reinforce our value proposition to the CCS CO2 storage monitoring industry.

“ Recent developments revealed the huge potential of our FWL technology in the CCS domain, as it can be used to permanently monitor the reservoir injection of CO2 and contribute to the net zero target.” “Our three-component ocean bottom seismometers can be deployed to the seabed indefinitely and tied back to the shore to provide a steady flow of data and this can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. “It is attracting the interest of companies in the UK and Europe and without the double whammy of coronavirus and the oil price it is something we may not have focused on for some time.”

Subsea UK News | August 2020



Brimmond Group Steers a Path Through Pandemic At the start of March, Brimmond Group had several rental fleet assets scheduled for deployment to offshore locations in the UKCS and overseas. At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, Brimmond took immediate action to keep staff safe, and ensure that they were in a position to be able to continue mobilising critical equipment to the offshore sector. As a result the group put in place a split shift system for its workshop team, creating a safe working environment in compliance with HSE and government guidelines, installing dedicated work stations that provided sizable work areas for each technician, implementing hygiene zones around kitchen areas and at the same time limiting the use of communal areas.

Tom Murdoch, Brimmond Group Engineering Director, said: “The

team have reacted admirably to the multitude of changes brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak. We had to furlough a small number of employees and introduce split shifts in the workshop but our staff’s flexibility and dedication is what allowed us to keep servicing the energy sector safely.”

The Brimmond workshop has been busy throughout lockdown which has included the engineering and manufacture of diesel-driven,


Subsea UK News | August 2020

oil-well cement pumps as part of a contract to supply to a global service company. With the newly implemented shift system, the group’s technicians were equipped to be able to complete a range of contract work, and at the same time prepare rental fleet assets ready for mobilisation. In 2019, Brimmond Group had invested in its IT systems which included the implementation of a new CRM system, and the investment has proved invaluable during the lockdown. Enabling staff to work effortlessly from home providing them with easy access to internal documentation and equipping them with tools to allow them to communicate regularly with each other. Customer meetings, all of which are hosted online, have been improved with the help of a new piece of animation developed by Brimmond Group and an Aberdeen-based engineering house. The new animation has been vital in helping to showcase the full product range, including the group’s latest Effer 175,000-6S marine crane, recently purchased for the rental fleet. Despite these challenging times, Brimmond Group is positive about its future and plans are in place to continue with its investment in its people, facilities, equipment and services.


The Industry’s Ultimate Health Check by George Mackintosh, Operations Director, Maritime Developments

I bet the word “testing” has been a popular search term on the internet this last while - I’ve certainly contributed to the statistic while planning the best return options for our troops from overseas projects. Over recent weeks there has been a whole lot of testing taking place – and not just the type that tells you if you need to self-isolate. I doubt that anyone in business today can remember a bigger health check than what 2020 has thrown at us. Everything is being tested: our internal processes and work efficiency; our teams’ confidence; the strength of our customer relationships; and the adaptability of our business to pull through when orders plummet. It has been a tough three months with a lot of continuously moving parts. There’s not one set of guidelines that remained constant as the virus swept through the country. This requires daily monitoring in order for us to prepare or adjust, to carry out the work already awarded or underway - and that’s just on our home soil! For a company like MDL where the majority of our operations take place abroad, the challenges multiply, primarily with regard to the movement of people and assets. And this is where our business - and many others like ours - has been tested like never before. Can we move our personnel safely overseas or onto a floating work platform? Can we mobilise the equipment ahead of time, in case border restrictions are imposed? Can we still provide personal customer service with half of our operations team working from home? We have certainly tried to make sure the answer is always “Yes” and hats off to One Team MDL for taking on the challenge, in true MDL spirit.

To date, we have met all our projects’ deliverables, pre- and postmission, including mobilising equipment and people in the two major lockdown months of April and May. We have been driving the conversations with clients, with ideas on how we can overcome the impact of quarantine on project schedules, to ensure that our personnel have plenty of time to isolate, ready for mobilisation at the time of vessel arrival. We have also self-isolated crew at home before jobs, and we’ve provided two teams at mobilisations - 1 for onshore and 1 on the vessel - to minimise any risks of bringing the virus on board. And for those of our team who requested to do so, we ensured they had a safe place to isolate after the job as well, away from their families but close to home. Elsewhere, we have assisted customers with access to our skilled personnel or equipment present in country, to safeguard their imminent projects where their own fleets have been stranded overseas, behind locked-down borders. Of course, the test is not over yet. Who knows what the next few months will bring! But what we do have today is a four-month experience of facing up to a whole host of brand new challenges. I believe there’s never been a better time to put collaboration into practice - and that way hopefully end up with an encouraging set of results from this health check.

The COVID-busting Crews at Rever Offshore During the COVID pandemic, Rever Offshore’s vessel crews have led from the front by proactively implementing the necessary mitigations to keep vessels free from the virus, and in particular have gone above and beyond in the extra care and attention required to protect sat divers. The crews onboard Rever Offshore DSV’s summarised the onboard response as follows: C is for CONTINGENCY. Early contingency planning with the involvement of all parties, to ensure Rever Offshore had the correct protocols in place to mitigate the unique risks posed by the virus. This was communicated through familiarisation and drills with new arrivals to vessel.

I is for INNOVATION. Circumstances have dictated need to revise plans continuously, to reflect latest guidance and available equipment – such as use of snoods for vessel crew as alternative to face mask. Snoods are much cooler and more comfortable than wearing a mask, while offering same level of protection.

O is for ORGANISATION. Vessel and onshore team worked together to quickly arrange for the appropriate measures to be implemented, including pre-mob testing & isolation protocol, quayside checks, restriction on access to vessel accommodation areas, provision of additional PPE and cleaning materials and regular deep cleans of vessel – decisive action was taken to keep vessels safe.

D is for DRILLS. Weekly COVID-19 drills carried out onboard to stress-test the Contingency Plan and think about the “what if” scenarios – which have included Master / OPM being unavailable, suspected case in Sat and multiple cases occurring in short period.

V is for VIGILANCE. Everyone has bought into process and stuck to the control measures throughout their trips. Daily temperature checks conducted on entire crew, and divers taking their own temperature twice a day in Sat. Medic reports that guys previously coughed to cover up a fart, and now they fart to cover up a cough.

The mitigations implemented have been successful in keeping Rever’s vessels COVID-free, and have allowed Rever to continue executing projects safely and efficiently throughout the pandemic. The crews onboard have also gone above and beyond to recognise and support our NHS, with the Thursday ‘clap for our carers’ being marked onboard in various unique ways.

Subsea UK News | August 2020



JFD Relies on Innovation and Expertise in COVID-19 Pandemic by Danny Gray, Interim Managing Director, JFD

As a world leader in commercial diving products and services, and submarine escape and rescue, the team at JFD has extensive experience in unprecedented and challenging situations. JFD can respond to a hyperbaric rescue and provide crucial support at a moment’s notice. This natural instinct to provide expert, innovative and proactive solutions has always been at the heart of JFD. With COVID-19 hugely impacting the marine and offshore industries and the markets changing dramatically, the JFD team has once more stepped into the breach. At the beginning of the pandemic, we instantly recognised the need to apply our unique expertise in breathing apparatus, life support equipment and hyperbaric medical equipment to support lifecritical applications. We designed and manufactured a new patient ventilator system to support global health systems in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. The InVicto system utilises a previously used concept from our hyperbaric oxygen therapy product to provide vital respiratory support to patients. This non-invasive technique is seen as an advantage over CPAP devices. The InVicto is able to provide a high level of oxygen enrichment whilst minimising the consumption of O2. These features are seen as very beneficial when the world’s resources are constrained both in front line key workers as well as from an O2 conservation perspective. InVicto was designed to reduce pressure on intensive care units, helping to save lives around the world. Testing and approval of the system is ongoing. Once

JFD outdoor dive tank


Subsea UK News | August 2020

complete, it is our ambition to rapidly roll-out InVicto to support countries suffering from a second wave of COVID-19. In addition to providing this direct response to the health crisis, we recognised the challenges our clients were facing in terms of business continuity and the introduction of new measures to protect their people and assets. For example, it was clear that ensuring continuity of high-level training and up-to-date qualifications for both shore side and offshore roles was essential to keeping workers safe. We acted swiftly to ensure the continuation of our training programmes where possible by launching an online portal which is now a permanent offering to the market. JFD tailors each course based on its own merits and needs. Some training was moved online to protect the safety and wellbeing of staff and delegates, while new courses were launched covering areas more suitable to online or remote teaching methods. While some courses require group webinars, others necessitate one-to-one sessions or

JFD testing capability


videos and audio support. The change in circumstances required flexibility and innovation to ensure a successful solution for the market. To continue to offer impactful training in this climate demands a unique approach, and this change in training offering is constantly adapted by the JFD team in line with feedback from delegates. This offering will provide additional support to the marine and offshore industries, delivered in a very cost-effective format. Furthermore, it supports those wanting to boost their careers, enabling them to focus on building their own expertise to create a stronger workforce for the future. Our aim is to provide competence development and capability enhancement training, delivered in whatever medium best suits the subject matter and customer requirement including classroom, training site, remote, online and any combination of these to ensure the highest level of training around the world, provided at any time. Despite lockdown, and in addition to the training aspect of our offering, there has still been a need for customers to test their equipment, which we’ve been able to continue to do from the National Hyperbaric Centre with all appropriate measures in place. We maintain a range of high and low pressured testing equipment and a large open water tank which makes us one of the largest and most diverse pressure testing providers in the world. Since March this year, we have undertaken 19 testing jobs using either our work chamber, 200 bar chamber or monkey pot. This continuity has been crucial for our customers, with

InVicto system

the ongoing provision of this service ensuring guaranteed operational capability of their equipment and the highest levels of safety. Some clients were finding it increasingly difficult to manage and coordinate the necessary Dive System Auditing requirements of their assets to enable them to be utilised for work, whilst also adhering to local, international and company guidelines on global travel. We are well renowned for our safety-first approach and designed a Remote Audit service. This solution enables clients to have their assets audited in accordance with IMCA guidelines, without the need for travel and third party site access – a very useful service given the current challenges with international travel and vessel access for auditors,. With auditors based around the world, we can provide local experts in the right time zone at short notice. We have stuck to our core values throughout this challenging time, and will continue to do so going forward. With the passion and expertise of our staff, our innovative approach, and our flexibility to maintain continuity regardless of the change of circumstances, we have adapted and continue to provide our customers with the best and highest quality services on the market, wherever they are in the world. JFD is passionate about enhancing capabilities and improving competence within the industry and we will continue to build on the breadth of capabilities we offer to provide the industry with support throughout the world even in the most challenging of times.

InVicto patient with mask

Subsea UK News | August 2020



SMD: Keeping Calm, Carrying on and Investing for the Future by Mike Jones, CEO, SMD

I have been in contact with many of my fellow subsea companies in the North East of England since the start of the pandemic and the lockdown period, and our experience has been similar in many aspects. We have all been amazed at how digital tools have enabled our office staff to work seamlessly and productively from home; the dedication of our workshop and offshore staff in carrying on at the ‘coal face’ under challenging restrictions; and the rapid response of the government to support industries like ours. If I’m particularly proud of one thing we have achieved at SMD during the pandemic lockdown, then it’s the communication within our team. We have had weekly bulletins keeping everyone informed about working arrangements from our COVID-19 Action Group. Using Yammer at a company and smaller group level has kept everyone in touch informally. We have even kept the company tradition of stopping for tea and toast at 11 am going through a weekly Teams get together. I have done regular briefings through webinars, with Q&A sessions, and if anything, this seems to achieve a better quality of communication than doing it to large groups in the office. Humans are social creatures, and we thrive when we congregate and socialise, so I firmly believe we have not seen the end of the office at SMD or elsewhere. But we will approach it differently as a result of this and lock-in the benefits of the new ways of doing things we have discovered.

We are continuing with our investment in our next generation Curvetech electric modules, tools and digital platforms. We started this over two years ago and showcased them in the form of the new Quantum Electric Vehicle last year at Offshore Europe. We have been completing endurance and stress testing of many of the modules during the lockdown. The new 25kW Curvetech Electric Thruster completed 100,000 reverse cycles during this period. The modules are being re-assembled now for tank testing of the Quantum EV followed by open water testing later this year. We are also designing other form factors for market-specific applications using the same core modules and control platforms. These will drive a step-change in reliability and performance and combined with our digital platforms will enable operations for IRM, survey and other tasks from Unmanned Surface Vessels which will lead to a quantum reduction in operating costs. Even from conventional vessels, there will be significant savings in reduced operating costs from remote shore-based piloting, and also greater performance and reliability increasing vessel uptime. Another area where we are pushing ahead with investment in our Curvetech core technologies is the ARTEMIS Cable and Pipeline Tracker. Passive trackers have been limited to around 1.5m burial depth. In offshore wind and many areas of telecoms, cables are routinely buried deeper than this, in many cases up to 3m. Presently, to survey deeper cables, they must be given an electric tone and an active tracker used. This is not always possible and in the case of a broken cable not at all. ARTEMIS will extend this range to a 3m burial depth for all cables without a tone. We have been testing the system offshore with several of our clients on work class ROVs and trenchers over the past six months and have proved its ability to track cables buried up to 3m deep reliably. Final testing is underway, and we will be launching Artemis as a product later this year. Coupled with our market-leading range of trenchers, this will give our clients the capability to fully install, maintain and repair cables to 3m deep in all ground types.

Markets like Offshore Wind and Telecoms remain strong for SMD, and in South East Asia, we have seen a quicker recovery and picked up orders for work-class ROVs in China and Vietnam recently. Despite the collapse in the price of oil and the cuts in CAPEX and headcount we see in that market, we believe things will improve. If anything, there will be a stronger drive to reduce the cost of recovery, both financially and environmentally, through the use of new technologies.


Subsea UK News | August 2020

We believe there is still a bright future for the Blue Economy in the wide range of markets in which we play. We will continue to invest in this future, in our technology, and importantly, in our people. An example of this is two undergraduates who trained with us will join us this September as part of our team. Investing in them and technology is the key to our future.


The Persistence of the Unforeseen by Dr. Tony Trapp (MBE), Executive Chairman, Osbit

I am not keen on detailed business plans. It is too difficult to predict the future. My life has been hugely influenced by the persistence of the unforeseen. But as circumstances change exciting possibilities emerge. Success comes from recognising these changes, adapting and enjoying the new opportunities. Two events in the past 20 years seriously damaged our businesses. The Submarine Telecom market crash of 2001 eliminated most of our market at The Engineering Business. We rapidly transferred our focus onto tidal stream technology developing a three year £6m intensive R&D programme. We designed, built and tested the world’s first full scale 150kW tidal stream generator in 2002. We then went on to create world-leading offshore pipe handling systems with great success. The second event has been the oil market crash that started in 2014. This has not been a ‘V’ shape crash and recovery! Over 10 years Osbit has developed many offshore technologies including personnel access solutions, handling systems for

equipment and seabed cables, together with a range of trenching systems for cables and pipelines. We are leaders in the supply of well intervention systems and are delivering a 1,150tonne Smart Tower System for FTAI. Having developed technology for enabling the installation of large offshore wind turbines we recently supplied a 760tonne pile gripper to handle piles weighing up to 1,900tonnes. We are helping to enable the growth of offshore wind. We have also designed and built a trial seabed nodule harvester and supported successful operations recovering many tonnes of nodules from 4,500m water depth. The Global Marine Group Pre-Lay Plough PLP240 (shown) was designed and built by Osbit. We worked closely with the client to achieve the best outcome. PLP240 has successfully completed trials in challenging seabed conditions. It also completed scopes on DKF Kriegers Flak wind farm. And now event three – COVID-19. Global oil production probably peaked in 2019 and the future is unknown. The offshore O&G market is challenging going forward, with an over-supplied market and pressure to reduce carbon emissions. Offshore Wind offers great opportunities and Osbit is well positioned to creatively innovate and make a difference in this market. Our strength is our team of excellent engineers working in a fertile environment. We grow organically with many excellent students and new graduates supported by wise and experienced senior team members. We have a business culture that is honest, nurturing and challenging. And great fun!

BEL Valves: Delivering during the Coronavirus Pandemic As part of a project to supply numerous valves to the Forties Pipeline Shutdown project, North East manufacturer BEL Valves was required to take further action to ensure the delivery of the project during the pandemic. The majority of the orders were to be delivered during quarter two of 2020 with valves ranging from 2” to 36” with up to 10,000 psi design pressure. As the Coronavirus pandemic unfolded, it became apparent that BEL Valves needed to take mitigating actions to ensure the on-time delivery of the valves. The actions have been categorised into three main areas: Workforce protection: BEL Valves introduced and maintained operating procedures and processes to keep employees safe, including significantly enhanced hygiene measures, social distancing and mental health monitoring. Production continuity: BEL Valves reviewed potential changes and subsequently developed a manufacturing facility action plan to allow quick reactions in an ever changing market. Expediting materials, booking additional machine shop capacity and taking early delivery of components and parts limited the risk profile in the supply chain and therefore the potential impact on production. Productivity delivery: BEL Valves effectively managed manufacturing performance while social distancing and remote working policies were introduced. Those not absolutely required on-site, including managers

and many support functions, were encouraged to work remotely to protect the health of our employees. Production planning meetings were maintained through the use of video conferencing. Paul Sargeant, Commercial Director at BEL Valves, said: “Due to the actions taken, we were in a position to maintain the production plan and meet the deliveries required by the customer, whilst maintaining high levels of quality and ensuring the safety of our employees. This resulted in all of the valves being delivered within a defined window acceptable to our customers. Given the circumstances and market conditions, this was a tremendous achievement and a reflection of our team here at BEL Valves.

“ It took a great deal of dedication and commitment from all our employees along with a close collaboration with our sister company, BEL Engineering.” Due to the success of the project, a number of actions that were implemented in the short term will now continue to be utilised within the business, long after the current pandemic.

Subsea UK News | August 2020



DIT: Net Zero is More Important Than Ever in the Economic Recovery from Coronavirus by Craig Jones, Head of Oil and Gas, Department for International Trade

The UK economy has faced multiple challenges over the last two years, from global trade tensions to the current coronavirus crisis. While it has been a difficult time, the energy sector and others have responded and are crucial in the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic. It has also led to a wake-up call about climate change and what we need to do to reach net zero by 2050.

The shift to net zero

Coronavirus response

While 195 countries have agreed a global action plan requiring an estimated $13.5 trillion investment in infrastructure, including energy, it is predicted that energy demand will double by 2040. The Department for International Trade is collaborating across government and industry using policy levers and aid spend to grow opportunities and capabilities in a low-carbon future, while also building on our green recovery from Coronavirus.

The entire department has thrown its full weight into ensuring businesses have the support they need, and that supply chains remain resilient in response to the health and economic impact of the pandemic.

And there is huge demand coming from developing markets. Many developing countries are taking their first steps into a low-carbon economy, often supported by aid spend. This also presents opportunities for UK exporters, which is why we are laying the groundwork now. In the last 5 years we have invested over £1 billion in clean power programmes in developing countries and have announced the £1 billion Ayrton Fund to help developing countries access cuttingedge energy technologies. Through these we offer technical assistance, early stage consultation and support to UK companies looking to build partnerships with overseas firms to provide solutions to technical issues. These efforts will continue to drive exports from the UK’s low carbon and renewable energy sector, which were worth £5.3 billion in 2018. However, while the clean energy transition continues and deployment of renewables grows quickly, fossil fuels will remain a significant contributor to the energy mix for decades. There are also significant near-term opportunities to support sustainable oil and gas projects along with deployment of renewables and more efficient infrastructure. To address this, DIT’s Energy and Infrastructure team are working on opportunities and companies across the entire energy mix, with a growing emphasis on transition technologies, including global opportunities in oil and gas decommissioning – a sector in which we anticipate $100 billion being spent to meet future needs in South East Asia alone.

The DIT team at Offshore Europe

DIT has been working with other organisations in the Maximising Economic Recovery (MER) Supply Chain & Exports Task Force, including Subsea UK, to find work in the immediate term for UK oil and gas supply chain companies. This is being done by increasing their share of export opportunities and servicing renewable and other non-oil/gas energy clients, thus reframing the supply chain for the long term in respect to Roadmap 2035, supporting multiple energy industries and clients. In addition, £55 million has been set aside through the Sustainable Innovation Fund for R&D projects to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of the pandemic. This will include a focus on decarbonisation, climate change and environmental sustainability. DIT remains committed to maximising the economic value that the shift to a clean economy can deliver for the UK and how it can support the UK’s economic recovery from coronavirus, while playing a key role in realising the Governments climate change objectives. There has never been a more important time for companies to contact DIT to find out how we can help your company grow internationally and Build Back Better.


Tekmar Manufactures Protective Gear for NHS and Care Workers In response to COVID-19 and the unprecedented demand for PPE Tekmar Group along with many organisations across the UK joined the fight against the global pandemic and began manufacturing protective face shields for front line NHS and care workers across the North East of England. The initiative was led by Group companies Subsea Innovation and Tekmar Energy who were fortunate to have the capability to expand their operations and manufacture the much-needed PPE in addition to the continued delivery of bespoke offshore equipment and subsea protection systems for their global offshore energy clients. Subsea Innovation initially designed, prototyped and began producing the protective face shields using their engineering expertise, 3D printing technology and manufacturing capability at their facilities in Darlington, UK. Recognising the limitations of using 3D printers to produce the face shields in quantity, the design team developed a design that could be cast in polyurethane and produced in greater numbers with sister company Tekmar Energy who are based in Newton Aycliffe, UK. Within 24-hours of reaching out to the North East of England’s generous supply Subsea Innovation and Tekmar Energy had bespoke

aluminium moulds and the required materials to proceed with large scale production. Working together Tekmar Group delivered a total of 5,000 marks to 49 various hospitals, care homes and community care workers across the region. An amazing effort from the Tekmar team who invested their time and energy to help those putting their own health on the line to save others.

Shepherd Offshore: Business but Not-as-Usual Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Shepherd Offshore’s economic and social responsibility to maintain confidence has never been more apparent. Since the lockdown in March, the company has berthed over 25 vessels, transferred, loaded, and discharged 100 reels, and spooled over 36km of umbilical/flowline. Although the numbers stayed high, the dynamic changed. Shepherd Offshore managed by enhancing safe systems of work and good communication with its stakeholders. Ensuring all involved to be compliant with government guidance has been key. Risk Assessments are sent to clients and vessels before arrival, clearance for personnel arriving on site and electronic inductions are a few examples the Company has incorporated. Complying with vessel operators and neighbours Technip, Bridon-Bekaert, Baker Hughes and their associated clients enforced systems of work has protected the nature of business and projects.

Charles Shepherd, Managing Director, said: “The industry is facing challenging times. For Shepherd Offshore, we knew we had to remain confident to protect the business and our clients. We are grateful for our employees, clients, and stakeholders for their versatility.” Remaining open, Shepherd Offshore adapted without furloughing any employees. Actively supporting employees with their mental health and welfare and accepting the new change early meant project scope could be fulfilled and works could continue. Despite the easing of the current guidelines, the Company continues to follow the government guidance and safe conditions both in office and on the quay.

Subsea UK News | August 2020



The Other Key Workers: Keeping the Lights On By James Young, CTO at JDR Cables

COVID-19 has turned life upside down. Birthdays are celebrated over Zoom or from the end of a driveway, bars and restaurants stand empty, and many streets are eerily quiet. Yet, we carry on – largely due to the great efforts of health and other frontline workers – and also thanks to our critical energy infrastructure and those that build and maintain it. In the UK, the energy sector has weathered many a storm and become a byword for engineering and technical expertise. From the North Sea oil and gas sector that still provides 51 per cent of UK gas requirements, to the renewable energy sector and the transmission and distribution networks, it is the energy sector that makes it possible for people to work remotely, and keeps the lights on in our hospitals. So, we should be proud of and grateful to these other key workers – and that gratitude must extend to doing everything we can to enable them to do their jobs safely during the pandemic. Here are some examples of what we are doing at JDR Cables to achieve that. All hands on, six feet apart

Companies should be taken to reduce social interactions of people in given areas, to reduce Covid-19 transmission risks

There will be no one size fits all approach across sectors, or even individual companies. COVID-19 safety needs to be approached at the individual facility and process level in order to be effective. Broadly though, we can group measures to either change process, reducing the number social interactions, addressing human factors to challenge habits through consistency of communication and through providing the right personal protective equipment (PPE).

PPE is the most straightforward and should be second nature to anyone used to working in a manufacturing environment or deployed on site (potentially offshore) but applies doubly during a pandemic. Staff – and any visitors – should be supplied with all necessary PPE, whether that be face masks, goggles or snoods to cover the nose and mouth. However, PPE is really the last line of defence. Managers and teams need to work innovatively and think differently about risks and how these could be engineered out. Then, measures should be taken to reduce social interactions of people in a given area, to reduce transmission risks. This can be achieved in multiple ways, but a business needs to look at all interactions and where these can be minimised. At our facilities, we have adjusted shift start and finish times so that outgoing and incoming groups don’t overlap and we can reduce the risk of congestion in corridors and access doorways, as well as segregating eating areas and staggering break times. We have done our best to reduce visitors and sought other ways of communicating and demonstrating project progress. We have implemented new processes for those social interactions that are unavoidable. For example, every cable that leaves our facility is subject to a factory acceptance test (FAT) which normally requires the physical presence of a customer representative to ensure key completion milestones and quality requirements are adhered to. We welcome such visitors and accommodate those key client representatives to our site, however in these times we are, wherever possible, conducting such vital inspection stages remotely and via other methods such as video.


Subsea UK News | August 2020

And then there are the subtler, but no less important things, which help strengthen safety culture. Though not sufficient on their own, we have invested in measures such as social distancing lines on the factory floor, signage reminding staff to keep their distance and to wash their hands on arrival, departure and as often as possible in between. We all have to be vigilant and look out for one another, to protect ourselves, our colleagues and all our families and loved ones. We have found it is all too easy (and all too human) to lean in closer to hear what a colleague is saying against the background noise of machinery, but we have to stop and think about our safety and maintain social distancing, as much as we practically can There may also be ways to rethink processes to support distancing. For example, can a factory layout be rearranged so that workstations are farther apart? Can a task be rethought to avoid the need for two people working on it simultaneously? In many cases, the answer will be yes. For those when it isn’t – such as with a heavy cable lift that requires two people working closely – it’s crucial that staff are given the right PPE and that time in proximity is minimised and strict separation established immediately upon completion. And – though the virus itself is rightly front of mind for us all – none of us can ignore the mental toll that this scenario is having. Mental health must be carefully monitored for both remote and physicallypresent staff – both for its own sake and so that minds can stay focused on good health and safety practice. Defining critical I doubt anyone would disagree that keeping power flowing to our homes, for vital businesses and services right now is essential. Hospitals need power, and you could argue that social distancing is far more likely to succeed if people are able to work and entertain themselves remotely. However, some might question whether work on tomorrow’s energy projects is critical at the moment. Though COVID-19 introduces many new uncertainties as to what our societies and economies will look like in future, we are ultimately in the midst of several longterm trends, changing how much energy we need, where we need it and how we produce it. Offshore wind farms will continue to be built off the UK coast (and they need to be built before we shut down the coal-fired and other fossil fuel power plants they replace); new sources of hydrocarbons will continue to be needed to replace output from mature North Sea wells. These are tomorrow’s critical energy infrastructure assets, which makes them today’s critical construction and manufacturing projects – all the more reason to do our utmost to keep the sector moving while at the same time keeping our people safe. At JDR, we are constantly looking for further initiatives and improvements to keep our people safe, while helping our clients work tirelessly to keep the lights on. I hope that some of these thoughts can be of use to others, as we look ahead and ensure we all have the energy we need to continue our fight against Coronavirus and safely re-build our global economy for all of our futures.

We Have a Responsibility to Work Together to Tackle the Challenges set by COVID-19 by Rogerio Mendonca, Vice President, Flexible Pipe Systems

Every one of us – through our actions and decisions – has a responsibility, an ability and an opportunity to contribute to the world’s response to COVID-19. Despite unprecedented market challenges, we continue to support customers, execute priorities, lead with innovation and care for the local communities.

MAXIMISE PRODUCTION. MINIMISE DOWNTIME. For over fifty years, Nylacast have helped and assisted its customers to enhance project performance, efficiency and safety through the design, manufacture and supply of award-winning materials technology. Manufacturing components from initial chemistry to end product, Nylacast’s full engineering solutions enhance performance and reduce maintenance through their corrosion resistance, low weight and low friction. How can you enhance your projects? Speak to our engineering team today.

While it seems clear that the blend of lower oil prices and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic may generate a decline in spending in 2020 versus 2019, potentially delaying some projects, we continue to see opportunities ahead in our offshore flexible pipe systems business. Now more than ever, our customers need technology and solutions that increase productivity and efficiency, both to achieve their goals and to navigate the current macro environment. This gives us an opportunity to engage with them on new ways to maximize value. In Brazil, the largest market for flexible pipes where Baker Hughes is the market leader, a pipeline of new FPSO projects indicates continued demand. Globally, project economics are improving through our early engagement activities, providing continued opportunities for flexible pipes. Recently, the offshore flexible pipe systems business made substantial progress in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 and sustained a 24/7 manufacturing operation in the UK and Brazil. Baker Hughes supported key customers in manufacturing equipment for projects to be delivered into Brazil, Europe, the Middle East and Asia including projects in India, China, Brazil, Australia, Angola, UAE and Europe. At the same time, and as one of our most relevant responses to the challenges presented this year, research and development activities were maintained, including those on the new composite flexible pipe product. This advanced, deep-water solution is a high-performance carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic pressure armor that also serves as a direct replacement for the traditional pressure armor wires. The resultant reduction in product weight leads to reduced length, ancillary equipment and installation time for a deep-water riser. This translates to relevant savings in total installed cost for a deep-water riser and therefore offers significant value and savings to the operator. In addition, the carbon fiber composite pipes also provide a long-term solution to the high CO2 environment challenges that some of our customers are facing today. Customer engagement is building momentum and a pilot project is expected in 2020. Finally, as we navigate these unprecedented times and deliver on our commitments of reliable execution and technology developments, we are strengthening our partnerships, not only with the customers, but also with other relevant technology players, suppliers and installers. |

The World’s Leading Subsea Exhibition and Conference P&J Live, Aberdeen

23-25 February 2021

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