SUBSEA UK NEWS THE MAGAZINE FROM SUBSEA UK WWW.SUBSEAUK.COM SEPTEMBER 2015
THE FUTURE OF
IN THIS ISSUE: In-Depth: An Interview with Bob MacDonald, CEO of Wood Group Kenny Quad 204 Challenges Technipâ€™s Technical Skill in Harsh Environment Five Years with Schoolhill Engineering: Developing a Revolutionary New Valve Matchtech Explore Subsea Career Options in Tough Economic Climate Subsea News and Events from Around the World
How do we manage to connect all our survey and inspection sensors when there are insufficient data connection ports on our ROV?
Fugro Subsea designed and built its own class leading, fibre optic communication system, built into its FCV ROV systems to ensure you never run out of data capacity.
Welcome to this Edition of Subsea UK News With Offshore Europe upon us once more, it’s a good time to examine where we are as an industry and how we are actively responding to the current environment. There’s no denying that the outlook has changed dramatically over the last two years and times are incredibly tough. However we must remain positive and make sure we do what’s needed to position us sustainably for the future.
The subsea sector has evolved and matured over the last 40 years, with pretty much year on year growth. We are now facing some real challenges that must be tackled head on. If we don’t take a step back to review, restructure and reposition ourselves, the future won’t look so bright.
Behavioural change as well as a shift in new technology is needed to deliver the cost and efficiency improvements that will secure the industry’s long term future. If we carry on doing things the way we have been, we cannot expect things to change. This is a time to look at how we can work together, how we can be more efficient and how we can get new technology to market. It’s more important than ever to formulate robust strategies and operating models based on an accurate understanding of industry costs and trends. Identifying ways to achieve greater operational efficiency and reliability could be the route to success in an increasingly demanding environment. The biggest mistake oil and gas companies can make in the current business environment is to focus solely on cutting costs. Instead, they must take a longterm approach and make tough decisions on resources and projects to help lay the foundations for creating a sustainable oil and gas industry for the future. We are helping members to drive performance, break down barriers and enhance their capabilities to secure a positive future against a backdrop of doom and gloom. We understand the issues and we can fix them, but we must be open to change and be prepared for more challenges ahead. The truth is, we don’t know what the future holds, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand and wait for the oil price to pick up. We must stay focused on what we can control. Companies must make radical changes and be bold about transforming their business models. As an industry, we are in this together and if we take a joined-up approach to tackle the challenges, we will emerge from this current slump stronger and fitter than ever. Everyone has a part to play in establishing a culture of collaboration, building on and learning from best practice to protect and sustain this critical UK industry.
Neil Gordon Chief Executive, Subsea UK
Subsea UK Subsea UK News, produced by Subsea UK, reaches over 15,000 subsea-affiliated subscribers each issue. Subsea UK is the champion for the UK subsea industry. We act for the entire supply chain bringing together operators, contractors, suppliers and people in the industry. With some 53,000 employees, worth almost £8.9 billion in services and products and with over 750 companies, the UK subsea industry sector leads the world in experience, innovation and technology. The UK will maintain a leading technological edge by sustaining and expanding this important business sector. Whether you are a company looking to join and reap the benefits or an individual looking to develop your career in the subsea industry, explore our website or contact us to find out how Subsea UK can help you, your business and your industry. Find out more at www.subseauk.com
New Members Rotech Subsea Ltd
IQ Integrity Limited
National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI)
Gill Jennings & Every LLP
Subsea Supplies Ltd
AISUS Offshore Ltd
Forum Energy Technologies – Dynacon Launch and Recovery Systems – Geoscience Earth & Marine Services (GEMS) – Syntech Buoyancy – V-Max Simulator J2 Subsea MacArtney UK Ltd
IPSL TSC Software Consultants Ltd Calash Ltd Complete Site Safety Dry Ice Scotland Samphire Subsea Ltd First Integrated Solutions Roxar Ltd (Polyoil)
To view the full Subsea UK members list, visit the Subsea UK Directory at www.subseauk.com
Forthcoming Events September 2015 NSRI: Support for the Developer Community/ Technology and Innovation Showcase Aberdeen, UK 23 September 2015 Mexico Oil & Gas Showcase Trade Mission Mexico City, Mexico 26 Sep - 2 Oct 2015 October 2015 Brazil / Mexico Marine Business Seminar Bristol, UK 14 October 2015 Brazil / Mexico Marine Business Seminar Plymouth, UK 15 October 2015 November 2015 Subsea UK South Networking Event Gosport, UK 5 - 6 November 2015
Subsea Asia 2015 Jakarta, Indonesia 23 - 24 November 2015 Fundamentals of Subsea Systems London, UK 30 November 2015 December 2015 Subsea Integrity and Efficiency Conference 2015 London, UK 1 December 2015 Subsea UK’s AGM Aberdeen, UK 3 December 2015 February 2016 Subsea Expo Aberdeen, UK 3-5 February 2016
These are some of Subsea UK’s events but please visit our website for full details of all forthcoming events www.subseauk.com
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 email@example.com
OSBIT Power’s Double Helix of Deliveries OSBIT Power, a leading North East England offshore and subsea engineering company, has successfully delivered two well intervention equipment projects, totalling several million pounds, to Helix Well Ops UK for installation on the Q7000, currently in-build in Singapore. Each of the two projects is a bespoke, custom-made system; a set of twin Cursor type ROV Launch and Recovery Systems (ROV LARS), forming OP’s largest contract to date, while its Umbilical & Guide-wire Handling System (UGHS) is a design first for the company. OSBIT (On Specification, Budget and In Time), based in Riding Mill, Northumberland, had to overcome challenging space constraints and a need to operate in severe weather conditions and sea states, up to 5m Hs (the measure of significant wave heights) to deliver the twin bespoke heavy weather Cursor type ROV Launch and Recovery systems to Helix Well Ops. The UGHS system facilitates the handling of guide wires and umbilicals above the well head, allowing free and unobstructed access through the moon pool for the launch and recovery of large well equipment. Both projects are to be installed on Helix’s new Q7000 semisubmersible well intervention vessel.
OSBIT’s Launch and Recovery System (LARS)
Subsea UK News | September 2015
ROV LARS Project Manager Steve Binney said: “We have a strong track-record with Helix; we worked very closely with their engineers to ensure that the systems can operate reliably in severe conditions and still meet the packaging constraints within the hangars.
“Helix must deploy its ROVs in the most extreme of conditions. In these challenging circumstances, there is no room for error in subsea operations - this demands the very highest standards from suppliers.” In March, Helix also awarded OP another large contract to produce three sets of Intervention Tension Frame (ITF) systems. One of these systems will also be installed on the Q7000, with the other two being fitted to the new Siem Helix 1 and Siem Helix 2 vessels that are to be chartered by Helix.
Scrabster Harbour Sees Significant Increase in Oil and Gas Vessel Activity Scotland’s most northerly mainland commercial port, Scrabster Harbour, has seen more than a 100% increase in its oil and gas vessel tonnage, boosting traffic levels by 52%. The harbour, which is a multi-purpose port based in Caithness, has seen an increase in vessel arrivals for the first quarter, compared to figures in 2014. Its oil and gas vessel arrivals have been recorded at 19, with vessel tonnage of 123,130 tonnes for the month of July, surpassing all previous records at the port. Sandy Mackie, Trust Manager for Scrabster Harbour, said: “The growth in energy related traffic shows that Scrabster Harbour is ideally placed for oil and gas vessels. As the closest mainland port for oil and gas activity off the west of Shetland, and many installations in the northern North Sea, we offer huge benefits to existing and potential clients.” One of the recent arrivals at the harbour included the 11,600 tonne well intervention vessel the Island Constructor which is working under contract for BP. Mobilisation works on this ship allowed businesses from across the area to capitalise on the project while the vessel was berthed. Scrabster Harbour assisted the vessel with taking on water, stores and bunkers, engineering works, crane hire, haulage, transport for crew members and waste services. The increased activity at the port has included project related vessel mobilisations, crew changes and supply vessel activity to support North Sea operations. Sandy Mackie added: “The berthing of vessels such as the Island Constructor highlights the advantage of Scrabster’s proximity and the ability to handle operations such as this. We are delighted at achieving a record month in oil and gas vessel tonnage and hope that this continues to grow.
“We have had great feedback from our clients who described the level of service and control of logistics at Scrabster Harbour as ‘extraordinary’.” The increasing number of crew changes has also contributed to the reported growth in passenger numbers at the nearby Wick John O’Groats airport, with personnel arriving at Wick by either aeroplane or helicopter. This is supported by local firm Far North Aviation.
Island Constructor, Scrabster Harbour
Subsea Innovation Successfully Delivers Launch and Recovery Systems with Winches to SMD Subsea Innovation, one of the world’s leading subsea equipment suppliers, is pleased to announce that it has completed the design and manufacture of two of its Launch & Recovery Systems (LARS) for SMD in Newcastle. These are the first systems that Subsea Innovation have produced for SMD, the world leading designer and manufacturer of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), who have recently been acquired by Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric Co Ltd. These systems are currently on their way to China where they will be commissioned immediately for active service. The model of Launch & Recovery System that has been delivered is a HF-135 Mk. III, which has been designed for a Safe Working Load of 15 tonnes, has been
supplied complete with a hydraulic umbilical winch. This is a great achievement in delivering a fully integrated system which adds further proven experience to Subsea Innovation’s track record. Already a major player in the manufacture of LARS as well as Tether Management Systems (TMS), subsea sealing systems, pipeline repair systems and waterstop seals, Subsea Innovation has recently rolled out the offering of refurbishment services to clients on a variety of LARS and TMSes manufactured by themselves or others. The company recently passed a significant milestone when it confirmed that it has now delivered over 100 Launch and Recovery Systems to major offshore operators across the globe. The opening of the company’s newly built 40,000sq ft. headquarters in September 2014 means Subsea Innovation can now design, build, overhaul and test larger systems with greater efficiency.
The Launch and Recovery Systems on their way to SMD
Hyperbaric & Altitude Testing
UKAS approved EN 17025 Test Facility
Subsea Control Modules ROVs & Submersible Vehicles Valves Underwater Housings Electronics
Wet or dry testing Down to 8000msw, up to 50,000ft Temperature range: -25°C to +50°C Large WorkChamber 3 x 8m Recordable data & video monitoring
8000m 123 Ashgrove Road West Aberdeen - UK - AB16 5FA Volkan Alper - +44 (0)1224 666 349
North Sea Work Brings Several ‘World Firsts’ for Swagelining Limited Swagelining Limited, a recognised leader in the design and installation of polymer linings for pipeline and riser systems, has completed work across eight North Sea assets over the last 12 months, including a number of world firsts for the technology. These contracts saw Swagelining design, fabricate and install almost 90km of polymer liners into water injection pipeline in total, and included ‘first uses’ of the technology by four major operators. The work included the lining of a 4” line, the smallest ever subsea water injection system to be polymer lined, whilst a further project saw Swagelining’s longest pulls to date for 1,515m stalks on a 14” pipeline.
David Whittle, business development director at Swagelining Limited, said: “Polymer lining has
already proven to be an effective method of providing internal corrosion protection to carbon steel pipelines and risers. We are seeing a marked increase in the use of polymer lining technology across North Sea assets, demonstrated by the number of projects we have been involved in over the last year and the uptake by operators using the technology for this first time.”
Since 2009, technology-focused Swagelining has grown to become the market leader for subsea polymer lining systems, investing in research and development to open up the choice of installer and construction options, as well as potential use for hydrocarbon service. Swagelining’s Technology Development Group (TDG) currently works with operators to create testing plans and programmes for material qualification, spearheading the development of polymer lining technology. One project currently being undertaken by Swagelining’s TDG is a Joint Industry Project with Saudi Aramco and The Welding Institute, which is investigating the extent of corrosion in a polymer lined pipeline when subjected to a sour hydrocarbon fluid environment. The TDG is also working on a materials testing programme in conjunction with two major operators to extend the boundaries for higher temperature water injection service, whilst incorporating the LinerBridge®, Swagelining’s weldable polymer connector, into the test programme.
Subsea UK News | September 2015
UK & Australia
Working Together in Oil & Gas Her Excellency Menna Rawlings CMG is the British High Commissioner to Australia. Here she shares some insights into the relationship that the UK and Australia enjoy in the oil and gas industry, opportunities for further collaboration and how UK Trade and Investment can assist UK firms entering the Australian market.
Menna Rawlings, British High Commissioner to Australia
The UK and Australia have traditionally had strong historical, cultural, business and sporting ties. But this is a modern partnership as well as a historic relationship, which delivers for both our countries. A good example of that is in the oil and gas industry, a sector of great importance to both the UK and Australia, and one where we have particularly strong links.
British oil and gas companies have enjoyed success in Australia for many years, through joint ventures, collaboration and setting up Australian entities. British oil and gas expertise, gained in the tough environment of the North Sea, translates very well to Australiaâ€™s offshore developments on its northern shelf and opportunities for British companies still remain.
of revenue to come from exports
over next 5 years
The UK and Australia continue to share strong historical, cultural, business and sporting ties.
A u st
UK companies have particular strengths and expertise in subsea engineering, skills and training, research & development and safety. These areas have all driven the UK’s growing involvement in Australia’s oil and gas industry. The UK’s subsea expertise is internationally recognised, having pioneered new technologies in subsea design and engineering. There are expert UK companies in this sector operating throughout the supply chain, from project management, design engineering, fabrication and manufacturing to subsea support and services, and close UK-Australian relationships exist with companies in all stages. With its transition from construction to large-scale LNG production, the Australian oil and gas industry presents a number of new opportunities for UK companies. The industry is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 9.6% over the next five years, to be worth $71.8 billion and by 2020; industry exports are expected to account for over 80% of revenue. Several expansion projects are due to start full production in 201617, and high growth rates are expected to continue in 201718 as additional capacity comes on line, bringing growth in employment and the number of industry enterprises. New projects are being constructed in several gas fields, with most production destined for export. The largest is Chevron’s Gorgon project, based on gas fields off the north-west coast of Australia. Other large offshore projects include Shell’s Floating LNG Prelude project, the Wheatstone LNG project (a joint venture dominated by Chevron) and the Inpex Ichthys LNG project. Other LNG plants under construction will support the export of coal seam gas from Queensland: I recently visited the Queensland Curtis LNG project, the first LNG train on Curtis Island, created by BG Group’s QGC in partnership with CNOOC and others.
In the area of technology development there will be opportunities in the use of big data analytics, automating maintenance, using robotics and condition monitoring to predict where maintenance is required in advance.
The British Government’s trade and development arm, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), can assist UK companies to bring their expertise and experience into Australia. In particular, UKTI is working closely with government and non-government partners in Australia and the UK to help British companies supply their products and services into the major oil and gas projects in Australia. They have enjoyed a good collaborative relationship with Subsea UK and their members for many years. Much of the innovation in the subsea sector is driven by the UK, and it is typically the smaller companies that are the most agile and vibrant in this area. However, they often find it hard to break into new markets, and it is here that UKTI can play a vital role. As a global organisation, UKTI is well placed to assist companies in the UK to increase their exports. We have a good team in Australia, and they are always looking to develop better links with UK firms in the subsea field. Our joint aim is to exploit emerging trade opportunities in Australia and the region, and we strongly welcome greater engagement with UK companies. To find out how UK Trade and Investment can assist your business with opportunities in Australia, visit www.gov.uk/ukti or contact one of our trade advisors.
There are tremendous opportunities for UK firms, with their valuable experience in the operation and maintenance of offshore and onshore facilities, to work with Australian companies and help them develop their own capabilities in operation and maintenance of these facilities. Keeping the gas trains running and getting them back on line after maintenance will be a strength for Australia in the future. Operational experience gained by
UK oil and gas companies will be valuable, and should be a translational benefit to Australia.
Several expansion projects to start full production by
As a Trade Challenge Partner of UKTI, Subsea UK have also launched a Global Business service on their website, with the aim of assisting companies with getting started in exporting. This portal consolidates global news, market reports, business support contact cards (including local contacts to each region where possible) and events. Visit www.gov.uk/ukti/australia for more information.
Emerging Deepwater Hubs
Global Deepwater (>499m) Capex (%) 2011-2020 by Country 100%
With declining oil prices, several planned capital intensive deepwater developments have witnessed delays in recent months as operators reassess project economics. Capex spend in water depths of 500 metres and greater is expected to decline throughout the remainder of 2015 and 2016, with Infield Systems forecasting the largest decline to be seen in water depths of between 1,000 and 1,499 metres as a result of a decrease in spend offshore Angola, Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and Malaysia. From 2017 onwards, however, Infield Systems expects to see sustained growth in deepwater development expenditure; with prospects in ultra-deepwaters (>1,499m) forecast to undergo the largest CAGR (20%) between 2016 and 2020. Whilst Brazil, the GoM and Angola are expected to comprise the largest share of deepwater Capex demand during the next five years, emerging deepwater hubs, such as Mozambique and Israel are also expected to undergo significant investment over the remainder of the decade. Offshore Mozambique, Infield Systems expects a total of eight deepwater fields to attract Capex spend over the forthcoming five years. Prospects within the Rovuma offshore Areas 1 & 4 drive forecast demand and Anadarko is expected to lead expenditure as a result of its development on the Prosperidade complex. 2013 also saw the entrance of CNPC into the east African market, with the acquisition of a 20% stake in the Eni-operated Area 4; which includes key prospects such as Coral, Mamba North and Mamba South fields. The Eastern Mediterranean, driven by developments within the Levant Basin, is expected to see strong growth over the forthcoming five years. Offshore Israel, Infield Systems expects the Leviathan
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90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
Source: Infield Systems
development to drive deepwater expenditure demand over the remainder of the decade, accounting for a 90% share of Capex demand over the 2016-2020 period. The project, which Noble operates alongside partner Delek, has been in question since the Israeli competition regulator deemed the partners’ holdings of the country’s offshore gas reserves to be monopolistic. However, the operators remain committed to the project, with Infield Systems currently expecting development spending to commence in 2017. Elsewhere within the Eastern Mediterranean Infield Systems expects for Noble’s deepwater Aphrodite field to require significant spend towards the end of the forecast period. Indeed, with the operator facing challenges on its Israeli-based assets, Aphrodite may become a more attractive development prospect for Noble going forwards.
Maritime Developments Delivers New Generation Spread Back-deck equipment specialist Maritime Developments has delivered its first turnkey pipelaying spread which aims to reduce vessel mission time. The complete pipelaying package consists of the company’s 75-tonne portable vertical lay system (PVLS) and 350-tonne multiple reel drive system (RDS), together with horizontal and vertical deck deflectors and other project-specific equipment. The spread is being used for the installation of flexible risers and flowlines in one of the biggest North Sea discoveries of recent years, by a major offshore contractor.
According to the client, this integrated system offered significant reduced vessel days when evaluated along with other traditional equipment and methods. “In recent months we have been speaking to our existing and potential clients across the globe about cost-saving options and our portfolio of product handling equipment, in particular our PVLS,” said Derek Smith, Maritime Developments’ CEO. “The response we received was very positive. Our proposed solutions worked as an eye-opener to our commercial and technical audience on the potential returns from using equipment that is smarter, quicker to mobilise and takes up less space.”
Maritime Developments’ new PVLS is a portable solution which can be assembled on the quayside off critical path before being installed on the vessel. The vertical orientation of the tower, combined with the integrated suite of control systems and ancillary equipment, allows more mission equipment to be carried on deck, therefore reducing port visits; while the efficient layout of the tower allows direct access to the firing line with ancillary attachments - all contributing to reducing vessel days.
The PVLS utilises the company’s patented 4-track tensioner, which allows for two tracks to open when in vertical orientation, reducing the potential risk of damage to the product during abandonment or recovery; the control van for the tensioner is integrated in an elevated position within the vertical tower, providing excellent views of the workstation and the tensioner. Also delivered as part of the spread was the company’s third-generation RDS, which has joined Maritime Developments’ rental fleet. The RDS is capable of handling multiple reels with minimal requirement for working at height due to automated systems. The automation and clever design reduce the time spent offshore moving between reels, keeping mission time to a minimum. This new design also eliminates the need to sea fasten reels to deck, thanks to the reel cradles and reel rigging pad eyes built into the system’s tracks, all resulting in a significant cut in vessel downtime during mobilisation and demobilisation operations.
Inset: Maritime Developments’ spread (75-tonne PVLS and 350-tonne RDS) in the company’s Peterhead yard Main: Trials of the PVLS in the company’s yard, demonstrating Maritime Developmentsí 4-track tensioner’s two track opening in vertical orientation
BUSINESS / PEOPLE
One Year on and Subsea Consultancy, Namaka Subsea, are Celebrating their 1st Anniversary Since opening its doors in July 2014, Aberdeen-based, Namaka Subsea have completed a number of projects around the world, including projects in South Africa, Singapore, Brunei, Europe and the UK. The projects have ranged from diving system IMCA DESIGN audits and Failure Modes Effects and Critical Analysis (FMECA) assessments on behalf of diving contractors, to providing diving technical authority support for several oil and gas majors. The projects have ensured diving contractors and subsequent clients have sufficient confidence to carry out global operations, ensuring compliance with current best industry practices as well as geographical legislation. Namaka Subsea has also assisted several diving contractors through the process of International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Offshore Diving Contractor Membership, by providing consulting services to assess whether the diving contractor is compliant with the requirements of the IMCA guidance for offshore diving operations.
Further assistance with IMCA Offshore Diving Contractor membership has been provided by the introduction of DiveCert, which is a software package owned by Namaka Subsea and is a certification, planned maintenance and asset management package designed for diving systems and equipment. Namaka Subsea, has now secured 26 contracts for DiveCert with diving contractors and diving equipment manufacturers in five different continents. Not only has it been a busy year for the company with regards to client projects, but the company has also expanded in size, with appointment of additional personnel, including an office administrator, additional consultants and a training manager. The appointment of a training manager has been essential to the growth of Namaka Subsea, as part of the company strategy was to offer a range of accredited training courses to help with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and assist individuals reach their true potential within the workplace. With the introduction of the training courses and the success of the first year with DiveCert and consulting, Namaka Subsea are looking forward to their second year with a positive attitude.
Sandy Harper, Managing Director of Namaka Subsea, said:
“As with all new start companies the first year was challenging but our second year already looks promising, with future development including tendering for larger contracts both within the UK and overseas. This will require a permanent presence out with the UK in areas such as UAE and Singapore.” Carrying out an IMCA DESIGN Audit
PDL Appoints Mike Shanley as Vice President (Asia)
National Hyperbaric Centre Appoints Operations Manager
In light of their recent expansion into Singapore, Hexham-based engineering consultancy, PDL Solutions, has appointed Mike Shanley as Vice President (Asia).
National Hyperbaric Centre welcomes Jim Creighton as Operations Manager at their facility in Aberdeen.
Currently operating in an engineering role within the company, Shanley will be responsible for developing relationships and driving growth in what is a relatively new market for the company. PDL CEO Paul Charlton said: “Mike is an experienced engineer who is well-versed in the PDL way of conducting business. He has shown himself to be a passionate and driven individual who places strong emphasis on delivering high-quality results for our clients. We have every confidence in Mike and we are sure that he is the right person to take the business forward and continue to drive the company’s expansion.”
The appointment of Shanley comes after the company recently confirmed their commitment to tripling the size of their business across three continents. With the establishment of their business in Singapore, PDL will now serve the engineering sector across Europe, North America and Asia.
Subsea UK News | September 2015
Jim has over 25 years’ experience within the diving industry, most recently as UK Business Unit Diving Manager at Technip. Jim will be overseeing operations across all departments, further enhancing and ensuring the successful delivery of NHC products and services. Jim will become an integral member of the Hyperbaric Rescue team at NHC, organising and overseeing Hyperbaric Reception operations from a point of view of safety and efficiency. He has extensive experience within this field from his time at Technip where he assisted with the contingency plans for Hyperbaric Lifeboat recovery to the NHC facility. Jim spent 15 years diving commercially, with the last eight of those years being as a regular member of the saturation team on the Technip DSV Orelia. In 2004, Jim spent time at college and university before re-joining at Technip as a trainee project engineer. Jim then spent his time working as a Project Engineer or Subsea Asset Engineer for Dive Contractors and Operators before returning to Technip as Diving Manger.
THEY SAY BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO. WE DISAGREE. SPEAK TO ABERDEEN HARBOUR ABOUT PIECE SMALL-TO-MEDIUM DECOMMISSIONING.
When an installation comes to the end of its economic life, it’s decommissioning time. The plan is devised. The professionals are hired. The vessels are chartered. And the dismantling begins. But where do you take it? Aberdeen Harbour is the ideal choice. As the 24/7 gateway to the European Export Market, we have extensive marine capability, rail links, dedicated project areas, specialist recycling facilities, including triple interceptor quays, dedicated project areas, regulatory-compliant service companies and an extensive expert local supply chain. All designed to ensure materials can be recycled, disposed of or exported. So no matter what you’re piece small-to-medium decommissioning needs are – make it an easy break up. Speak to us.
Quad 204 Project Reaches Final Stages Richard Wylie, Technip Project Director, Quad 204
The BP operated Schiehallion field discovered in 1993 and located west of Shetland - first produced oil in 1998 and was estimated to contain over 2bn barrels of oil. In 2011, BP and its partners sanctioned the Quad 204 project which, by replacing the existing FPSO, renewing subsea infrastructure and drilling more wells, made it possible to extend the field life to 2036 or beyond, and produce a further 400mm bbl. 14
Subsea UK News | September 2015
FEATURE ARTICLE Now in its final stages, the project will see a new purpose built FPSO unit, the Glen Lyon, equipped to deal with the particularly harsh environment in this part of the North Sea, replace the current Schiehallion FPSO. A total of 14 new wells will be drilled, adding to the existing 52, 15 new and replacement flow lines and 21 new and replacement risers installed. The project will also see the current subsea infrastructure undergo a full redevelopment. Leading project management, engineering and construction company Technip is supporting BP in the recovery and replacement of all flexible risers and dynamic umbilical systems, including the hook up of the new Glen Lyon FPSO. The scope of work includes removal of the existing Schiehallion FPSO and mooring system; recovery of all existing flexible risers and dynamic umbilical systems; positioning and installation of a new vessel and associated mooring system and anchor piles.
The project also requires installation of 21 dynamic flexible risers; installation of seven static and dynamic umbilicals; coating, welding and installation of 15 steel pipelines and supply and installation of 78 flexible jumpers. Technip is also tasked with the installation of the jumpers, 24 manifolds and structures and infrastructure for field development.
must be able to cope with 30m waves and up to 80m of lateral movement of the FPSO. The vast scope of Quad 204, as well as the many companies involved, means the total operation is expected to complete in 2016. Completing all work within this timeframe requires extensive simultaneous operations between different vessel spreads.
Operationally, the project has required Technip to adapt. We have adopted a matrix structure in order to co-ordinate all aspects of the scope of work, with the project team structured in dedicated streams and each responsible for a portion of the overall scope. This approach, which is common in executing large projects, has an established track record on such largescale projects throughout the Technip Group.
projects. In particular the FPSO moorings and riser connectors and bend stiffeners, are some of the largest ever installed by Technip. The rigid pipelines used in the project have a CRA (Corrosion Resistant Alloy) lining for corrosion resistance, which is extremely challenging to weld in comparison to standard pipelines. Technip is one of only a select group of companies who could complete this scope of work which was performed at Technip’s Evanton Spoolbase, Scotland, after an extensive qualification and testing programme. To install the larger of the new flexible risers, Technip mobilised the North Sea Atlantic vessel. This features a new piece of equipment within the Technip fleet, the OVLS – Openable Vertical Lay System – required to handle the largest risers and ancillary equipment. As well as providing the top tension necessary to install the risers, the OVLS opens to allow the large end fittings and bend stiffeners to pass through it during installation offshore.
Working in a brownfield site also poses unique challenges. As the seabed is congested with existing infrastructure, installation of the new facilities requires careful planning and execution.
Technology The size and importance of Quad 204 means that BP and Technip were vigilant in selecting the latest technology for the project, while using proven techniques wherever possible. The scale of the field also means the size of some of the components is greater than seen on other
As the project enters its final year in a few short months, Technip and BP’s objective is to pre-install as much of the facilities as possible in readiness for the arrival of the Glen Lyon, and to do everything possible to shorten the critical path to start up after the new FPSO arrives. Quad 204 represents a significant milestone for Technip in the UK. For the first time we will integrate and carry out a brownfield project of this size that will utilise the majority of the subsea services we provide.
The existing Schiehallion FPSO was shut down in January 2013 and removed in 2014, and in mid-2014 we made the transition from removing old equipment to installing the new system. With the FPSO now disconnected, we have full access to the field. New moorings have already been pre-installed and work has begun on connecting the new subsea structure. All the static umbilicals and the rigid pipelines have now been installed and pre installation of risers is well underway.
New challenges In addition to the technical challenges of this project, the environmental conditions west of Shetland are particularly harsh. This means the riser and mooring system
Subsea UK News | September 2015
Serious about your subsea business? We’re serious about helping you develop your business! Brazil / Mexico Marine Business Seminar (Bristol)
Brazil / Mexico Marine Business Seminar (Plymouth)
Armada House, Bristol
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14 October 2015
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Subsea UK South Networking Event 05-06 November 2015
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Subsea Asia 2015
Fundamentals of Subsea Systems
24 November 2015
The Dharmawangsa, Jakarta, Indonesia
30 November 2015
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Subsea Integrity and Efﬁciency Conference 2015 01 December 2015
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AOG: Stand Space with Subsea UK 24-26 February 2016
Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, Australia
Subsea Expo 3 February 2016
Stand booking is now open for Europe's largest annual exhibition and conference, held in Aberdeen at the AECC.
Subsea Tie Back Forum 2016 22-24 March 2016
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas, USA
These are some of Subsea UK’s events but please visit our website for full details of all forthcoming events.
By Gordon Drummond, Project Director of NSRI (National Subsea Research Initiative)
NSRI is making swift progress in achieving its goals to establish stronger links between the UK’s subsea sector and the country’s academic community, in order to increase subsea related research on a national scale and to deliver tomorrow’s technologies today. Hackathons A study into the recovery of small hydrocarbon discoveries revealed the benefits that can be reaped if the industry can come together in a cluster approach as well as implementing new, disruptive technologies to exploit small pools. Having identified the size of the prize, we now have the content to present to industry and are inviting operators and the supply chain to submit their ideas on how to bring these small pools into play. We will be doing this through a “hackathon” model. Essentially this will be a workshop where specific currently unviable fields will be presented and thoroughly examined. The ideas will be captured live and subsequently categorised into the different workstreams. An initial screening will be conducted in terms of their impact and a series of these ideas will be taken forward. The aim is to pilot new, near to market technology in the field but also to generate the longer term ideas that need more fundamental underpinning research and development.
What percentage of your organisation’s revenue is spent on future based products and services?
The hackathons will be held in Aberdeen and London at the end of October and beginning of November respectively and we will be encouraging organisations to send their most innovative people. Our next steps will be to build a map of the location of these small pools and identify those within 12.5 km of existing infrastructure and could therefore be enabled by the existing tie-back solution.
Capability Survey In an effort to ensure the UK’s subsea technology needs are understood and met, we recently conducted a survey to find out exactly how NSRI can help to partner end users with technology researchers and developers in the appropriate fields. We want to develop a web enabled database resource which will encourage oil and gas subsea supply chain companies to collaborate and solve future industry challenges. A further aspect of the survey revealed that Subsea UK members are actively looking at future products and services, the majority of which are self-funded through profit. This proves that the subsea community is innovative and that there is a clear need to introduce developers to funding sources. If we can channel funding to the developers who need it, we can speed up the R&D process, and increase the profitability of the firms. If anyone needs help accessing funding please see the NSRI website for a listing of funding sources, or contact us.
38% Less than 5%
5% to 15%
15% to 25%
How do you fund your developmental activities?
Self-funded, out of profit
Confidential (no answer supplied)
Subsea UK News | September 2015
Cambla Supports Vessel Planning with Improved Software International project services consultancy, Cambla, has released an upgraded version of its state-of-the-art software, the Schedule Animation Tool (S.A.T), to the global subsea market, as a result of high client demand. The technology is a world-first, which has been developed to improve the accuracy, and significantly reduce the costs and safety risks associated with planning subsea operations. An online application, S.A.T. provides an accurate visual representation of a vessel’s location and planned activities. Cambla launched S.A.T. at Subsea Expo 2015, and has since invested in R&D to upgrade the tool. The new version includes features to improve overall user-functionality. The new features include increased fleet management capabilities, an enhanced data input system, a function to display fixed infrastructures including oil and gas platforms, FPSOs, and wind turbines, a listing of all schedule issues and the animation models can now be produced even faster. Cambla founder, Alexander MacLeod, said: “We are constantly evolving our product offering in-line with client requirements, and recognising a growing industry need for a cost effective way of planning vessel fleet activity, we have developed an upgraded version of our software. “S.A.T. is a particularly useful resource for companies operating a large vessel fleet or planning a complex subsea project as it offers full fleet management support. The tool identifies occasions where
Cambla founder Alexander MacLeod
planned vessel activities clash, helping project teams to determine the most appropriate activities and deployment times for their entire fleet. This ensures vessels spend minimal time in port or waiting offshore, which reduces excess expenditure of up to millions of pounds and increases safety.
“It can often be difficult for a large project team to keep up to date with developments, particularly if they are based in different locations. We have developed S.A.T. to be web based which allows multiple-user access, ensuring strong communication and engagement between all stakeholders is maintained from the tendering stage of the project, through to planning and onwards to achieve a successful execution.” “We received a high level of enquiries and positive feedback when we initially launched S.A.T., and I expect that the new and improved version will be further welcomed by the industry.”
Technological Breakthrough of MEC-FITTM Flexible Riser Inspection Technique The capability of Innospection’s MEC-FITTM flexible riser inspection technique has again been successfully tested on new flexible riser specifications. The technique has been proven not only to be able to detect cracklike defects in both outer armour wire layers, but also the indications differentiating the angle of cracking, as well as providing gap determination of the cracks. The aim of the test is to verify the MEC-FITTM technique for an upcoming inspection task involving 13” Flexible Risers located on a FPU in the North Sea. The inspection challenges include the 55° wiring angle structure with tight crack-like defects expected to run into the surface under an angle of 45°. Secondly, in addition to the thick outer sheath of 15.3mm, an anti-wear tape of 2.5mm is also present between the two armour wire layers. A simulated test sample established by placing wires with various flaw types at different locations and wire layer positions was used. Blind tests were performed on four different assemblies of the structure – with defects in the near side (facing the sensors) of the top layer representing the outer first armour layer, with defects in the far side of
Subsea UK News | September 2015
Simulated flexible riser test
the top layer and the same assemblies in the bottom layer representing the inner second armour layer. The test results showed that all through-cracks in all the layers can be detected. Part-depth cracks are detectable in the outer layer. The detectable crack size in relation to the wire thickness is 30% for the near side top layer, 60-70% for the far side top layer and 100% for both the near and far side of the bottom layer. From the point of view of defect detection through the tight wire structure and particularly the thick sheath, this is considered a massive success. In preparation for this inspection, the MEC-Hug Crawler tool for deploying the MEC-FITTM technique has been rebuilt to allow circumferential scanning to accommodate the scan requirements of the 55° flexible riser wiring structure. For the first time, the MEC-Hug Crawler tool will be deployed using an inspection-class ROV deployed from the installation. This would mean substantial savings for the operator as compared to using a work-class ROV.
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Flexlife Secures UK Patent for Ultrasonic Scanning Flexlife are pleased to announce that they have been granted a UK patent for ‘assessing the condition of a tubular using ultrasonic means’. This patent relates to the use of short pulse ultrasonic beams to determine annulus flooding and any corrosion of the tensile armour wire of flexible risers and flowlines (whether flooded or not). Ultrasonic scanning is the favoured method by operators for the inspection of flexible risers and flowlines over alternative methods, such as acoustic resonance, low frequency scanning, eddy current, digital radiography and magnetic stress measurement, as the ultrasonic probes return superior definition and provide both annulus flooding and tensile armour wire data, which is not possible from other methods of inspection.
in revenue to the company over the past three years, with a further £3.5m GBP of potential projects currently in Flexlife’s sales pipeline for 2015/16.
Flexlife CEO Garry Millard said: “The granting of this patent is a significant endorsement of Flexlife’s technology, which forms an intrinsic part of Flexlife’s business, supported by our engineering, delivery & integrity management, positive pressure annulus testing, armadillo repair clamps and FlexGel technologies.”
By obtaining such accurate information on the tensile armour wire condition, the results enable calculations to be carried out giving an accurate assessment of the remnant life of the flexible, in some cases preventing a flexible being replaced with the consequential operational downtime / loss of production, resulting in significant cost savings for the operator. In the event of damage to the outer sheath Flexlife’s patented armadillo clamp repair solution can be used. Flexlife have made a significant investment developing ultrasonic scanning and subsequent projects have delivered over £6m GBP
New Magnetic Crawler Solution Developed for Remote Subsea Inspection Following on from a recent successful diverless ACFM® inspection campaign in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, a new development has evolved in the arena of subsea inspection: the ACFM MagCrawler™. TSC’s ACFM® inspection method is widely used for subsea weld inspection, deployed by diver. This specialised solution enables accurate inspection of subsea welds where access can be difficult or costly to reach with divers. Advanced control software enables the ACFM MagCrawler™ to track a wide range of weld geometries typically found on fixed and floating structures. The ACFM MagCrawler™ is magnetically attached to the inspection surface. Two rubber caterpillar tracks provide the traction and allow accurate steering of the ACFM MagCrawler™ across the surface. When deployed by ROV the ACFM MagCrawler™ is delivered to the structure and operates autonomously with the ROV stood off. This minimises the station keeping requirements of the ROV.
The ACFM MagCrawler™ can manoeuvre easily on flat surfaces or tubulars with a diameter greater than 30 inches (760mm). Motorised adjustments of probe position can be made in both parallel and transverse directions, allowing full coverage of the area to be inspected. The probe is held in contact with the inspection surface using passive compliance, ensuring that the probe is aligned correctly at all times. A 360 degree rotation head means flange welds
Subsea UK News | September 2015
can be inspected with full coverage of the weld and heat affected zone. The combination of TSC’s ACFM® inspection technology with the ACFM Magcrawler™ deployment can deliver particularly high inspection performance with a capability to detect and size defects as small as 15mm long by 1mm deep in welded connections, even when inspected through a protective coating.
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In-Depth: An Interview with
Bob MacDonald CEO, Wood Group Kenny Bob joined the subsea sector after graduating and held various roles across Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America. He has worked in the oil and gas sector for more than 20 years and joined Wood Group Kenny in 2003, having held a number of positions including operations director and regional director for the North Sea, before becoming CEO in April this year.
“It would be naive to believe that the energy sector won’t evolve and that there may even be some new forms of energy.”
Q. What’s your vision for Wood Group Kenny? BOB - We have built a great reputation and history over the past four decades and Wood Group Kenny as a company has evolved hugely over this time. I get a real kick out of speaking to customers (new and old) and letting them know about our latest developments – especially when this is something that will help them deliver value to their own business. If you think of the Ford motor company, people are still proud to work for it but they are no longer making model Ts – people wanted a different product. And similarly we have continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of our customers.
From our origins in the subsea sector, Wood Group Kenny is now immersed in solving complex technological challenges across the energy and renewables sectors. As our customers continue to face new challenges, likewise we continue to diversify our skillsets across the lifecycle of the energy sector, including our geographic coverage around the globe. It is important that we deliver for today but are planning for the future.
Q. What changes have you implemented so far? BOB - Wood Group Kenny has evolved with the needs of our customers. Changes that we are currently making have undoubtedly been accelerated because of the market but they would have happened anyway as part of our commitment to continual improvement, development, and meeting the evolving challenges being faced by our customers. We have an organisation that is structured effectively to achieve this and has the capability to add value throughout the life of any asset and ensure that overall costs are minimised and production is always maximised.
Q. Can you tell us about any key strategies that will help to deliver or offer efficiencies to the industry? BOB - Our unique position, having extensive experience, capability and strong position in the supply chain, means we can deliver a solution that is tailored to the unique and wide range of customers we support. That range of customers continues to extend monthby-month. The cost of projects has risen dramatically over recent years and Wood Group Kenny is already at the forefront of reducing cost by using simplified designs while still giving our customers what they need. Current market conditions challenge us all to think of new, innovative, more cost effective and value driven solutions for our customers, but we are also seeing
“From a fuel perspective, we’ve made steps into renewables, however fossil fuels will remain a significant part of the world customers who want to use our experience to help fuel primary them standardise and simplify their approach to projects. For us this has supply.” been a back to basics approach using our problem solving capability. I don’t believe that the current flurry of subsea alliances are actually going to add any long-term value or cost savings to the operators; for me this appears to be an exercise in single source, solution promotion. We believe our solution independence is a service that continually adds value to clients and their projects. History proves our industry goes through cost and pricing cycles and solutions need to continually deliver ongoing value to the market, across the pricing cycle - our ability to work across the supply chain ensures that always remains the case. This is true not only of the capex phase but also the opex phase of the subsea industry, where we have found numerous ways to minimise offshore working time and hence reduce total campaign costs for the operators, whilst achieving their asset performance, safety and integrity targets.
Q. Can you tell us about any possible acquisitions or key projects? BOB - In June we announced the acquisition of BETA Machinery Analysis (BETA), a Calgary-based engineering consultancy specialising in advanced vibration analysis. This is a great fit strategically, operationally and culturally. The specialist vibration and noise services BETA brings are key elements in
integrity management and strengthens our capabilities as well as further diversifying our offering and solution focused service. Already we have identified mutual growth opportunities which are being progressed. Bringing BETA on board also allows Wood Group Kenny to grow its Canadian presence and provide a platform to enhance the current service offering in this geography. Recent contract wins include support to Woodside for the Browse FLNG project in Australia. We are providing the global maintenance support for a key component of the Subsea Well Response Project (SWRP). We also recently entered into a $250million agreement with Antin Infrastructure Partners (Antin IP) to provide operating services for the Central Area Transmission System (also known as CATS) in the North Sea for up to 10 years, subject to certain regulatory and other consents. Wood Group PSN (WGPSN) will act as the duty holder of the CATS terminal and pipeline and Wood Group Kenny will be integrated into the operating services team to provide pipeline management expertise for the system which accounted for the transportation of 13% of UK domestic gas production in 2013. continued overleaf
Q. How do you see the future of oil within the energy mix? BOB - Wood Group’s business is predominantly related to supporting the oil and gas sector; moving forward this will remain a major part of the primary fuel mix. Most projections suggest around 60 million barrels per day of new oil will be required by 2040 to satisfy the consumption levels that are anticipated. From a fuel perspective, we’ve made steps into renewables, with SgurrEnergy being a Wood Group company, and carbon capture, most recently supporting Shell with the Peterhead Power Station CCS project. However, fossil fuels will remain a significant part of the world fuel primary supply and being equally competent to support each of these sectors sets us in a healthy position into the long term. Late life management is a phrase which is gaining popularity within the industry. Ensuring that a field can be managed economically through the latter part of production is vital, even more so in the current economic climate. Wood Group Kenny has the capability to help maximise late life production. There is sometimes a fear in the North Sea to talk about decommissioning, but just because superstructures are being removed it doesn’t necessarily mean that the field is fully depleted or uneconomic. There are some fields in the North Sea where superstructures
will be removed that will be redeveloped as subsea hubs and we believe that we can help our customers develop and execute the best solution – whatever that may be.
Q. In light of the current changing energy market dynamics, where do you see growth or sustained demand coming from in the future? BOB - We are committed to finding ways to continue to grow as a business. This will include acquisitions into new industry sectors or new geographical regions which fit with Wood Group Kenny’s strategy. I am committed to and focused on technology and innovation and continue to seek out the advances in these areas which will bring value to the sector and to our customers. I think it would be naive to believe that the energy sector won’t evolve and that there may even be some new forms of energy. I am sure that Wood Group Kenny will continue to evolve to be at the forefront to solve future industry challenges.
Subsea UK News | September 2015
“Current market conditions challenge us all to think of new, innovative, more cost effective and value driven solutions for our customers.”
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SeeByte Deliver Glider Fleet Piloting Tool to NOC SeeByte, the global leader in creating smart software for unmanned maritime systems, have successfully provided the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) with an asset management system. This will provide remote mission planning capabilities, as well as enabling 24/7 remote monitoring for NOC’s glider fleet. Using the SeeTrack glider-fleet management tool developed for NOC MARS (Maritime Autonomous Remote Systems) users can remotely monitor the position of each glider in the fleet and re-plan and change
mission plans accordingly. This effectively provides a tool where every glider’s vital stats can be monitored and tasking updated in one place. This can be done from a remote laptop at any time of day.
Maaten Furlong, Head of Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems at the NOC said: “These new
developments will allow us to more efficiently manage our glider and long range vehicle fleet than ever before. This will extend the capabilities of our resources. SeeTrack really lets us focus on getting the results we need by making the data collection process far easier to manage.” SeeTrack is an open-architecture platform solution for rapid on-site analysis and data fusion that can be easily adapted for specific user needs. Developed as a mission-planning, monitoring, postprocessing and reporting tool, this software technology has been successfully deployed on numerous surveys, military and security operations and scientific experiments.
Trelleborg Set to Slash Downtime with Innovative Seal-welding Technology In what is sure to prove a real turning point for the oil and gas industry, leading manufacturer and supplier of sealing solutions, Trelleborg, has launched its revolutionary new SealWelding™ technology that allows seals to be welded in-situ on an FPSO platform, eliminating the need for it to disconnect and return to shore. Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has patented the new in-situ SealWelding™ technology that allows swivel stack seals to be replaced whilst the platform remains in operation. The seals are manufactured from Trelleborg’s established proprietary material, ensuring full offshore industry compliancy and reliability for the operator. The new technology will massively reduce the downtime and associated costs that come from maintaining an FPSO swivel stack.
In a controlled Trelleborg production facility, Trelleborg manufactures the pre-cut swivel stack seals. Offshore, onboard the FPSO, the seal is then installed by Trelleborg’s certified service team using a portable ATEX Zone 1 certified SealWelding™ system. The pre-cut ends of the seal are secured within the fully enclosed welding system and then pressurised, so that the weld can take place. Production on other swivel stacks can continue without risk whilst the welding process continues.
“With financial data suggesting that hourly losses for downtime from an offshore production facility can be the highest of any industry, any reduction in downtime can provide significant cost savings for the operator,” said Henk-Willem Sanders, FPSO
The ATEX Zone 1 certified control cabinet is purged, ensuring the safe operation of the system, as well as monitoring and logging all process conditions. Once the welding process is complete, the seal is removed from the SealWelding™ system, before being polished and inspected.
Focus Group Leader, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. “Seals are vital when it comes to ensuring the continued efficient and safe operation of an FPSO swivel stack. Previously, scheduled replacement of these seals would require the vessel to disconnect and return to shore, whereby the components would be disassembled and new seals fitted. The cost and travelling time required to return an FPSO to shore can very quickly add up. In fact, when maintaining the swivel stack, a critical element on board any facility, typically the FPSO would be down for between six and 12 weeks.”
Henk-Willem Sanders continues: “Safety and scheduled maintenance on FPSOs is of critical importance to offshore oil and gas industry operators. The associated costs combined with project downtime from pipeline disconnection, however, can be huge. Following intensive research and development initiatives, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has developed our patented portable SealWelding™ system that not only conforms to existing offshore safety standards but also dramatically improves the bottom line for offshore operators.”
The only viable solution to solve the problem of having an FPSO return to shore for scheduled maintenance was to develop a technique that allowed the swivel stack seals to be replaced in-situ. For this to be feasible, ends of a cut seal need to be bonded offshore in a secure environment and conform to approved industry standards.
Subsea UK News | September 2015
DEVELOP REVOLUTIONARY NEW VALVE Small engineering company excels itself delivering high performance custom valves to a UK oil and gas operator. A project spanning five years, an exhaustive list of qualifications and standards, negotiating contracts, designing prototypes and engineering products to exact specifications... this is the diary of Schoolhill Engineering, a leading force in hydraulic engineering, as it completes jobs for major players in the oil and gas industry.
We had an enquiry today from an engineering company for a special “high flow” Quick Exhaust Valve (QEV) for a High Integrity Pipeline Pressure System (HIPPS), to be designed for a major subsea development in the Caspian.
We’ve been awarded a phase one design contract and have begun detailed design work on the prototypes, although we’ve been held up for few months while the IP ownership was being negotiated. At Schoolhill, we’ve always been a product-orientated engineering company, so it was important to us that we retained any IP resulting from our designs. Once the consultancy and the operator agreed, it set off a flurry of meetings, emails and trips to London as the design work progressed. We even had training provided by the operator on how to submit the myriad of documents that needed to be completed (TRLs, SDRLs, MARCH FMECAs, TRAP Reports... on it goes!)
We don’t know exactly what they’re looking for at this time, as their specification seems to be somewhere between two different types of valve that we’ve manufactured previously, and are in fairly wide use on previous generations of subsea trees. As such, we’ve decided to present two different valve types, to try and cover what they may be after.
The consultancy and operator have decided to take both the options we presented forward, at least through to the design and manufacturing of prototypes stage. They’ll decide which to choose for production from there.
APRIL - JUN
FEATURE ARTICLE Working together with a company that specialises in seals, we decided to make a few component modifications. A new sealing solution has been devised and has been very successful. We also overcame a number of other technology hurdles which weren’t identifiable at the design stage, but became apparent during testing. The valve operates in less than 20 milliseconds and uses high grade thermoplastic seals. We’ve completed all of the design work agreed under phase one of the design contract. A new order has been placed for phase two to commence: manufacturing six prototype valves for qualification testing.
JANUARY - DECEMBER
We’re satisfied that we TO PRESENT now have a working valve and have moved onto the qualification testing phase. Over 40 test procedures were written to test various aspects of the valve’s functionality, characterisation, and durability. The valve’s operational scenario was only two or three actuations per year, but our required testing saw over 30,000 cycles.
We have now received an order from the operator to supply six production valves for the first phase of the major Caspian development HIPPS, and these are due for delivery in September 2015.
Prototype testing has been underway for several months, but due to high pressure drops across seals, and the performance speed of the valve (17 milliseconds), a number of sealing systems have been tested and disregarded.
Design has continued to progress, but unknown to us, the operator has been forming a specialist group, created specifically to look at products which have been designed in such a way that they’d be suitable for use on any future project. Our QEV was being moved away from the consultancy and over to this new “Global Subsea Hardware Group”, which meant a change of spec to ensure the valves would be suitable for any project in the future. The main issue for us is that we’ve had to change some of the material requirements, which means substantial redesign work, new calculations and, unavoidably, a substantial jump in cost.
Ronald Whyte, Managing Director of Schoolhill Engineering
THE NEXT FIVE YEARS Eventually we expect to receive orders for around 24 valves for the major Caspian development. We have also won an order for a Gulf of Mexico project, run by a different operator. Our valve was selected based on the successful qualifications we had attained for the original operator. The new operator’s requirements have changed slightly since the order was placed, however, and we’re now doing additional qualification testing at lower temperatures. Even with the current industry downturn, prospects for the product we have engineered look very encouraging. These HIPPS applications point to a technology step change for the subsea and oil & gas industries. Over the next five years, we are anticipating orders for over 150 valves and we have added a valuable new product to Schoolhill’s portfolio. Exciting times are ahead.
GE Powers and Propels the Next Generation of UK Navy Vessels One challenge often faced in the marine industry is bringing continual innovation to vessels without sacrificing the reliability of the technology. This is especially true for navy vessels, a space in which GE is proving to be a trustworthy partner that is up to facing the challenge. Building on GE’s portfolio of proven technology in the naval market, GE Marine is now the chosen supplier to BAE Systems in providing the propulsion motors and drive system for the first three Type 26 Global Combat Ships for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). GE will supply its advanced and reliable electric power and propulsion solution which meets the demanding and varied operational requirements. In particular the equipment will meet a tough shock rating requirement and provide low noise performance. Geoff Searle, Type 26 Global Combat Ship Programme Director, BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: “Following on from the Type 26 Design, Development and Assessment (DDA) contract awarded to GE last year, we are pleased to continue the collaborative work to deliver a costeffective power and propulsion system for the programme. Given GE’s track record in equipping vessels with proven naval designs, we have confidence in GE Marine as a reliable partner.” Type 26 Global Combat Ships are multi-mission warships capable of joint and multinational operations across the full spectrum of warfare and defence, including complex combat operations, counter-piracy, and humanitarian and disaster relief work. Designed to be among the most advanced modern combat ships in the world, the Type 26 class is powered and propelled by GE technology. When equipping the new vessels, GE Marine found the right balance between technological advancement and maintaining the tried and tested robust design that customers expect. Among the many advantages of GE’s system, customers will benefit from an energy-efficient, robust and low noise solution thanks to the use of its advanced anti-vibration technology. The naval design, arc-proof
Subsea UK News | September 2015
version of GE’s MV3000 marine converter provides the variable speed drive, enhancing safety, performance and maturity in the power and propulsion system. GE also plays a significant role in de-risking the programme by testing its power and propulsion system at GE’s Marine Power Test Facility.
Nicholas Smith, Marine Solutions Director, GE Power Conversion said: “Built on the back of our latest
products and technology supplied to the Type 45 Destroyers and QE Class aircraft carriers, we are excited to be playing a role in the new generation of combat ships for our long-term partner BAE Systems and the MOD. We are committed to delivering energy efficient electrical power and propulsion solutions that will meet the future of naval capability.”
Transvac ‘NoSep’ Multi-phase Ejectors Offer Compact Boosting Solution Transvac has launched the NoSep® Ejector, the latest addition to their range of ejectors for multiphase processing. Developed at Transvac’s unique high pressure test facility in the UK, following an extensive CFD & performance testing programme, the NoSep® Ejector eliminates the need for separation of multi-phase fluids at the ejector inlet. The new nozzle design allows the ejector to utilise a multi-phase motive flow to entrain and boost a second stream of liquid, gas or a further multiphase fluid. Typical applications include boosting production from multiphase wells, reducing back-pressure on long tie-backs and well de-liquification, as well as a range of sand and produced water processing duties. Removing the need for costly and spaceconsuming separation equipment goes hand in hand with the industry movement toward standardisation and project cost reduction.
“We are already seeing considerable interest from clients in using NoSep® Multi-phase Ejectors, as they’re an alternative to expensive multi-phase pumps,” said Peter Ainge, Transvac’s Business Development Manager. “These new designs have exceeded our expectations in terms of performance, yet the inherent stability and reliability of ejector technology remains.” Also known as jet-pumps or eductors, ejectors have no moving parts and no maintenance requirements, making them ideal for use subsea, offshore and in unmanned locations. Transvac ejectors are fully qualified and field proven for use subsea, successfully achieving ‘Technology Readiness Level 7’, the highest assessment level to attain.
Transvac’s two Ejectors supplied and installed in Petrobras’ Marlim field in Brazil
Transvac supplied the world’s first subsea processing ejector on the TORDIS project for Statoil, and also two ejectors to Petrobras’ Marlim field, which is located in Campos Basin, Brazil at a water depth of 870m.
Stork Develops Bespoke Caisson Repair Solution Stork has developed an innovative composite repair solution to restore the structural integrity of caissons, as part of an integrated approach to late life asset management. The repair solution was developed as part of a wider caisson inspection campaign. Stork was contracted to provide caisson inspection services on a first generation gas production platform in the Southern North Sea. This initial workscope was to inspect just one of the caissons, which included the retrieval of a dropped object. Ultrasonic Wall Thickness Mapping and Remote Visual Inspection services were successfully completed, which then led the client to request a second full caisson inspection. The results of this inspection revealed 10 through wall defects and large areas of external pitting at up to 10mm deep. Stork’s solution was to develop a composite repair, combining primers and materials to deliver a strong result capable of withstanding the harsh environment around the splash zone. Bio-Dur 563 and Gas-Pruf primers were used to provide reinforcement, resolve external corrosion and contain active leaks through void filling. The repair utilised both Stork’s PowerSleeve and AquaWrap composite systems for strength and resistance to suit all environments. With a design life of 20 years, the composite repair offered a cost and time effective alternative to mechanical clamp or swaging repair and was implemented by Stork’s multi-disciplined rope access team.
Stork’s Vice President for Service Delivery, Rod Agnew said: “By developing a composite repair solution for this application, we were able to offer our client a long term, cost-effective caisson integrity solution. This would not have been possible without the teamwork of our inspection, composite repair and special access capabilities, demonstrating Stork’s integrated approach to asset integrity management.” By delivering a bespoke caisson inspection and composite repair workscope seamlessly, Stork demonstrated how its coordinated and integrated approach ensures integrity, inspection, operations and maintenance teams are working together to provide safe, efficient, value-added services.
Subsea UK News | September 2015
PSL’s LIGHTPATH goes Lightweight New technology which aims to enhance safety for deep sea divers in the oil and gas industry has been produced by a Scottish research and development company. PSL, a spin out company of the University of St Andrews, has further developed its award-winning unique fibre lighting system LIGHTPATH, which offers an innovative technical solution to many sectors where safety of life is paramount. Its new SLS2000 is a small, compact unit at just 30mm in diameter and 70mm long, which has been designed to provide a light source to saturation divers using an LED attached to the umbilical at the diver’s end. Its development follows requests from industry for a minimal-sized light source which would not impede the diver during his work. The development of the SLS2000 closely follows the successful launch earlier this year of the deep water SLS7000, a version of LIGHTPATH that may help identify the position and orientation of seabed operations down to 3,000 metres to reduce the time for installation, maintenance and repair by workclass ROVs. Its development followed increasing investment by oil and gas companies in deep and ultra-deep water operations, and PSL has been asked to enhance its product, making it capable of being used at more significant depths. PSL Director Don Walker said that operational sea trials of the new SLS2000 would begin with existing clients later this year, following final in-house and external pressure testing.
Diver using LIGHTPATH
“We had been testing the SLS5000 with a number of clients during its development phase and had received feedback from divers and their teams on the benefits of having a low power, minimal sized package, which would not impede the diver and which could be illuminated from the diver side as opposed to the dive bell side.
“The first unit was ready for testing just two months after we received the initial feedback on specific requirements. As a sealed-for-life unit, it’s a first for PSL and simplifies the construction in terms of its complexity, part count and minimal size, and maintenance while retaining the lighting concept. It’s our aim to start sea trials by the end of this year at the very latest.” LIGHTPATH – which won the Subsea UK Innovation for Safety Award 2014 - is a patented side-emitting flexible fibre that projects a continuous and flexible line of light that carries no electrical power. It combines second-generation, high-performance LEDs with a life expectancy of 50,000 hours/ five hours continuous operation. A unique coupling system for the optics to allow more light into the fibre, which is just 5mm in diameter, is used in combination with a new fibre quick release coupling system. Simple yet highly effective, it can be used for a wide range of applications, from guide path illumination through to the extremes of challenging, hazardous and submerged environments.
Subsea UK News | September 2015
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Cleaning Projects: Reducing Cost and Improving Efficiency through Innovation Dry Ice Scotland, based outside Forfar, have launched a service aimed at improving the efficiency and environmental performance of cleaning projects in the subsea sector. Their technology uses frozen pellets of CO2 propelled at supersonic speeds to remove rust, coatings, sea-growth and other contaminants from equipment. The lack of solid or liquid media means that the process is completely clean, bringing significant savings in clean-up time and waste disposal. The business is run by the management team of Richard Nimmons and Ed Nimmons. Having been involved with dry ice cleaning for the last five years, the brothers have developed their technology to directly address applications such as rust, coating and sea-growth removal. Ed said: “We have always known that dry ice cleaning could bring serious benefits to the oil & gas industry, and especially the subsea sector. Over the last 12 months we have been testing our products and finding how best to address specific challenges. Early trials have proven successful and we are looking forward to bringing these developments to market over the next six months. “One project that we completed recently brought about a fourfold reduction in cleaning time, compared to traditional methods. The main time savings are achieved because of the lack of clean-up. Because our medium sublimates to a gas upon impact, only the contaminant itself is left, which is usually minimal. This also brings cost savings in waste disposal, of course.”
Dry Ice Scotland have invested this year in new premises outside of Forfar, which includes a cleaning bay and a dry ice manufacturing unit. The company also has fully mobile cleaning units that can be set up on client sites.
Ed Nimmons (left) and Richard Nimmons (right) with some of their recent products
“The investments that we have made this year have been invaluable. They allow us to manufacture our own dry ice, which in turn allows us to react quickly when needed, and the new workshop has enabled us to design and build our own products.” Dry Ice Scotland have also recently launched a fully mobile shrink fitting service to customers throughout Scotland. Using the dry ice method for shrinking, the product can be transported to client sites at short notice and used for the shrinking of bearings and other components.
Specialist for Subsea Inspection Services & Solutions • • • • • •
Risers & Flexible Risers Caissons Subsea Structures & Pipelines Non-Piggable Pipelines Ship Hulls Complex Areas like Subsea Welds & Manifolds
Inspection solutions feature: • • •
ROV & Installation deployment High corrosion defect detection capabilities Fast scanning with no coating removal
Innospection Ltd, Unit 1, Howemoss Avenue, Kirkhill Industrial Estate, Dyce, AB21 0GP, Aberdeen, United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1224 724744 Email: email@example.com www.innospection.com
NHC Teams with DanMedical to Deliver Step Change in Medical Support and Training to Offshore Industry The agreement forms a key part of NHC’s ongoing programme of capability enhancements designed to deliver improvements in the quality of medical training and support. Under the agreement, DanMedical’s proven D-MAS HyperSat medical monitoring systems will be available for demonstration and training at NHC. DanMedical’s systems have recently been installed in the hyperbaric chambers of NHC’s facility, allowing real-time medical monitoring of
Stuart Sloan of the NHC monitors a patient using the D-MAS HyperSat from DanMedical
patients. The D-MAS device measures the patient’s heart rhythm and ECG, blood pressure, blood oxygen content and core temperature, thereby allowing specialist doctors to provide real-time, expert medical advice from outside the chamber. D-MAS has already been deployed by a number of leading offshore energy contractors and medical advisors worldwide. With the equipment now also in place at the NHC’s hyperbaric facility, NHC will provide training and first-line support to Aberdeen-based clients and users of DanMedical’s services and devices.
Alan Green, General Manager of NHC said: “NHC is committed to improving the safety of subsea operations through the delivery of high-fidelity training and world-class emergency response services. We share this commitment to safety with DanMedical, whose capabilities complement our own. They are a key partner in our mission to advance the services and capabilities of NHC.” Peter Couldery, CEO of DanMedical added: “We are delighted to be working with NHC to raise the standard of medical monitoring available to offshore workers. We believe that NHC, with the support of its parent company JFD, can play a key role in training medics, divers and workers in innovative medical practices that can save lives.”
Practical Project Management Training and Development from the ECITB The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Oil and Gas Project Management Conference in 2013, asked why our offshore projects often fail to deliver. One of the outcomes of the conference was the formation of the Offshore Project Management Steering Group (OPMSG) charged with a mandate to raise the standard of project management skills, knowledge and behaviours in the North Sea oil and gas industry. Alongside members from the ECITB and the Association of Project Management (APM), the Group consists of leading industry project practitioners from operators and major contractors. Since its inaugural meeting in 2014 the Group has engaged in a number of practical initiatives aimed at improving project performance. There have been two highly successful “Project Management ACTIVE Cup” events held, in association with Cranfield University, which are competitive learning based events aimed at providing experience of the key project management disciplines. These are: • A pilot mentoring scheme where acknowledged experts have passed on experience and guidance to working project managers, with oneto-one career support and practical project management advice. • An ongoing monthly webinar series (dubbed the “WebInEye”) that aims to educate the local project management community in best practice and draws on the experience of industry experts. These are delivered via a purpose built ECITB microsite where anyone can register for free and is a central source of information for the Group’s aims and work.
Professional qualifications underpin any good discipline, so the OPMSG is providing full financial sponsorship to a cadre of industry project managers to attain the APM’s Registered Project Professional (RPP) qualification. This is currently the gold standard for project management and 19 candidates are currently enrolled in the training. Those successfully attaining the qualification will then provide the next generation of mentors on the mentoring programme.
A further project management conference is also to be held this coming November at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. The Conference is focused on “Collaboration for Efficiency and Cost Reduction” and it aims to explore and to educate delegates in deploying best practice in our currently cost-constrained environment. The OPMSG has made a lot of progress since it was formed, but there is more to be done in order to achieve the excellence required in offshore projects in the North Sea.
Subsea UK News | September 2015
Underwater Integrity Comes of Age In May this year, Underwater Integrity Solutions was unveiled in a blaze of global publicity. With $150million of investment, the company announced its intention to create an independent, global group wholly focused on underwater integrity, production assurance and life extension of subsea fields. Subsea UK News caught up with chief technology officer, Geoff Fisher, to find out how the plans are shaping up.
“It’s been a roller-coaster ride so far,” says Geoff who is now firmly ensconced in new offices at Westhill. “Since we launched at OTC, interest in what we are trying to achieve has been high. Our vision is, through time, to challenge the status quo of what’s available in the market in relation to the availability of engineering, products, data management, as well as personnel and services in support of subsea integrity and production assurance that will significantly reduce operating costs and enhance value from subsea fields.” This will be achieved, UIS says, through assuring and enhancing production availability, reliability and uptime. This vision is resonating with industry stakeholders and UIS has a long list of potential acquisitions as well as parties who are keen to partner with them to realise that vision. UIS has been established by five wellknown subsea industry leaders with over 140 years’ combined global experience based on both sides of the Atlantic.
Having attracted substantial equity finance from HitecVision, they have embarked on their journey to build an independent global company dedicated to integrity that will maximise the financial return from subsea assets over their operational life. “No one company in the market today is wholly focused on delivering an independent end-to-end underwater asset integrity service that addresses the multiple challenges of cost, production assurance and field life extension,” explains Geoff. “We aim to create a global business of sufficient scale that, through time, will offer another choice to what is currently available in the market.” There has been massive global investment to date in underwater infrastructure with about 5,000 operational subsea wells around the world and almost 7,000 predicted by 2020. This installed equipment is ageing and a significant amount of it has exceeded its original design
Subsea UK News | September 2015
life. Meanwhile, the new planned infrastructure, in deeper water and more hostile environments with subsea processing and underwater factories, add to the complexity. At the same time, regulation is increasing and there is more focus on asset stewardship, production availability and assurance and costefficiency that will ensure sustainability. “Against this backdrop, the supply side is limited,” says Geoff. “There are large construction companies, who are more focused on intervention than integrity and whose business is underpinned by vessel and ROV utilisation, and engineering houses with a broad scope of services, again not solely dedicated to integrity. And finally, there are a large number of small and niche companies offering integrity products, technology and services. These have smart people, great products and novel solutions, but most have limited geographical reach and lack critical mass. So operators either have to go to the tier 1 and 2 subsea contractors, who are driven
Neill Kelly and Geoff Fisher
by vessel utilisation, or self-manage a fragmented supply chain. “UIS intends to offer an attractive alternative with, in time, the size and scope to provide a global, independent end-to-end underwater asset integrity service.” Geoff continues: “We are building a business that will join together many of the capabilities already out there, fill the gaps and provide an efficient means of contracting these.” Through partnerships and acquisitions, UIS will build a complete portfolio of services and products across key areas: engineering and specialist consulting services to support asset integrity, production assurance and field life extension and also the development of a SMART sensor technology and monitoring systems, supported by inspection, advanced NDT systems and novel intervention and repair solutions. “The management of inspection and condition monitoring data and
transforming it to actionable information is a key strand of our vision,” says Geoff. “To move from periodic inspection programmes towards more realtime condition monitoring of subsea infrastructure and equipment would, we believe, bring tremendous benefit. This means being smarter in the technology we use to collect and transmit data while having a better approach to storing it to allow the effective analysis of that data. Essentially, we want to view and use data as a tool to optimise the field’s integrity, maximise production system up-time and minimise production outage.” Research by UIS has revealed that operators typically spend around 80% of their time collecting data and 20% of their time analysing it. “This needs to be reversed,” says Geoff. ”We need to collect, transmit, store and interrogate big data to turn it into a valuable asset which will deliver real performance improvements.”
While UIS’ Houston office is strategically positioned to access the North and South American oil and gas sectors, the Aberdeen office is of equal strategic importance for two reasons. The mature North Sea industry, where subsea production was pioneered, and the extensive, world class supply chain that has built up around this. “We are a global business, set up to have two leading centres and eventually operations in Norway and the Far East. We believe our offering is particularly important to the North Sea market, where subsea infrastructure is now 20-40 years in age, and where many of the key companies we want to talk to or partner with are based. Our business model is to acquire or partner, not add pieces to the puzzle, but instead join them up to create a service that is greater than the sum of its parts. We want to protect and foster strong brands, to support their growth through capital and our global reach.”
Subsea UK News | September 2015
Sonomatic to Build a New Multi-disciplined NDT Base in Aberdeen Sonomatic, a market leader in the provision of advanced automated ultrasonic inspection services, announces its plans to build a brand new multi-disciplined facility that will allow the company to cover the entire range of NDT Inspections. The new state of the art premises will house radiography and hydro testing bays and have the ability to perform heat-treatment on client equipment. The RAIS division will also offer a mobile NDT service to all onshore clients, including UT, MPI, liquid penetrant, radiography and heat-treatment. The location has been very carefully selected with emphasis given to the client’s logistical requirements. Sonomatic recognises that during high turnaround shutdown seasons, every mile travelled counts and adds to the time the client/asset is kept waiting for the return of their equipment. To optimise the ability to reduce this time and to ensure Sonomatic have addressed their environmental responsibilities, they have chosen to invest in a new site development, named “The Core”. Located in Bridge of Don to the north of Aberdeen City Centre, The Core will enjoy close links with Aberdeen Harbour (four miles away) and the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre
(one mile away), and will be situated close to the planned Aberdeen Western Peripheral route. Sonomatic’s new facility will create a centre of excellence for all NDT, NII and Advanced NDT requirements and will pull together the highly specialised technicians and engineers from the existing Sonomatic specialised services division. However, the vision does not stop at NDT. The company’s RAIS division has listened to its clients and has ensured there is room to extend its facilities and services to cover the addition of a paint shop and possible other offerings. Sonomatic aims to show their current and prospective clients they are a willing partner to help with all of their needs and requirements.
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io oil & gas Moves to New London Premises in The Shard io oil & gas consulting has moved into new premises in London’s iconic Shard building six months after launch. io, a consultancy that aims to deliver certainty into the design and planning of offshore oil and gas developments, launched in January and has seen steady staff growth since its inception.
Dan Jackson, Chief Executive of io, said:
“io is a standout company in the offshore space, so it made sense for us to move into a building that is just as distinctive. We are based in London to ensure that we can attract the best talent in the area, and having an address in the Shard will further help our credibility as a leading global consultancy able to transform and stabilise the offshore industry.” The office space includes state-of-the-art-technology, 10 meeting rooms, a coffee bar and lounge area as well a Sky Garden to inspire creative thinking. In line with the company’s disruptive business model, all employees are encouraged to change desks weekly within the open plan office to foster collaboration and idea sharing. The company has made a number of new hires in recent months. Among them is Chris Freeman, who recently joined the company as Director of Field Development. Dr Freeman has more than 30 years of experience within oil and gas, and has held positions at BG Group and a UK government and industry initiative called Leading Oil & Gas Industry Competitiveness (LOGIC). He said: “I saw joining io as a fantastic opportunity to be part of a new, exciting and growing company, that is going to lead the offshore industry in doing things differently. Working in a consulting environment where everyone is encouraged to think differently to deliver the most appropriate economic solution for our clients is a breath of fresh air. And with first tier industry leading parents – I felt this was an opportunity too good to miss.” The company has not only seen growth at its London headquarters, but is also expanding internationally and opened its second location in Houston in April of this year. London’s iconic Shard building - Image courtesy of London Bridge Quarter
Subsea UK News | September 2015
The Changing Face of Subsea Oil and Gas Careers Adam Grainger, Head of Oil & Gas, Subsea, Nuclear and Renewables Matchtech Group
FEATURE ARTICLE Falling oil and gas prices have created tough conditions in the subsea sector as new investment in well infrastructure has slumped, with inevitable knockon effects for employment. However, while the headlines may look dire the detail is more positive than it might at first seem for subsea engineers. Investment in new infrastructure and projects may have slowed but there is significant legacy work which is plugging the gap before oil and gas prices start their eventual recovery.
We are also seeing a strong trend towards firms hiring staff on permanent contracts rather than in contract roles, driven by the fact that overhead costs for permanent staff are about half that of contract workers. This is creating its own dynamic in the subsea engineering sector.
In addition, structural changes in the oil and gas subsea sector (notably an increase in joint ventures) are creating a foundation for future job growth as UK specialists are better able to compete for larger, global projects.
Some contract staff are embracing the move to the relative security of permanent roles, however others are using an impending change in status as an opportunity to seek new roles and new challenges (generally because they aren’t willing to take on a permanent position at a reduced salary).
Regardless of when oil prices start to recover, the career landscape within the global subsea oil and gas industry has dramatically changed, but engineering skills remain highly relevant and valuable to employers. There is currently a growing project pipeline for decommissioning work in the oil and gas sector. According to Oil & Gas UK’s 2013 economic report, almost all the 470 offshore installations in the North Sea’s UK continental shelf will need to be decommissioned over the next 30 years with a potential expenditure of £35bn to £50bn. The Brent Delta platform decommissioning alone will be a 10 year project, and this project pipeline will be a vital source of technically demanding job opportunities for hundreds of experienced oil and gas experts. The challenges facing the oil and gas industry have also led to a spike in joint ventures among subsea production system companies to cut costs and drive efficiencies. For example, FMC Technologies and Technip have joined forces to launch Forsys Subsea and OneSubsea, and Subsea 7 recently announced an alliance to jointly design, develop and deliver integrated subsea development solutions. Partnerships like these will reduce costs for the operators but over the medium to longer term they can also create new opportunities for engineers, particularly in the areas of design and installation.
For those that have lost their job or are unable to find a suitable role within subsea oil and gas under the right terms, opportunities to transfer to another subsea sector are strong. There is certainly an appetite among oil and gas engineers to switch; our latest Confidence Index revealed that over half (51%) of those polled (n.350) said they would consider transferring to other areas of engineering. There are many areas that they can effectively transition to in the subsea sector, particularly marine and renewables. In the UK, the marine industry’s project pipeline has been boosted following the confirmation that 2% of national income will be spent on defence every year up to 2020, and the jobs market is set to remain highly active as a consequence. There is also huge scope for equipment and manufacturing engineers to diversify across all subsea sectors as the principles are very similar. Employers within these other subsea sectors are desperately seeking talent in a skills short market, so are generally open to accepting candidates from other areas of the engineering industry. Subsea engineers working in the oil and gas sector have much to offer other areas of this industry but inevitably some retraining is required. The onus is on employers to adopt an open-minded and supportive approach if employers are to successfully fill vacancies and ease the impact of the engineering skills shortage; gone are the days when an employer could precisely match a job spec with a CV and choose from a handful of eager candidates, employers must be flexible to secure the talent they need. If they are, we will create a more flexible engineering workforce that is able to work across different sectors of the industry and plug emerging skills gaps.
Would transfer to other areas of engineering
Offshore installations to be decomissioned over next 30 years
Of national income to be spent on defense until 2020
While the headline view of the subsea engineering sector may be that it is under some stress, the reality is that this industry is about much more than oil and gas exploration and new pipelines. Engineering skills remain in high demand in the UK and with a growing skills gap the opportunities remain strong for those working in the sector.
Cadherent Breathes New Life into Listed Aberdeen Building Aberdeen-based engineering, design and visualisation specialist, Cadherent Ltd, has recently announced its relocation to and investment in the renovation of a category C listed building, breathing new life into one of the city’s oldest warehouses. The 17,000 sq. ft. premises, based on the city’s North Esplanade West, has a rich history. Built in 1937 by John Bisset & Sons, the grand renaissance style granite building was once known as the ‘Caretaker’s House’ as well as formerly housing food manufacturer Unilever and fizzy drinks firm Aberdeen Mineral Water Co. This is a strategic move for the company, moving to an area of considerable regeneration for the oil and gas sector. David Thomson, managing director of Cadherent Ltd explains: “Since Cadherent’s launch in 2006, the team has worked hard to establish the company as a leader in engineering, design and visualisation. Although market conditions are notably challenging, this is a strategic move for the company, which will see us enable future development in a central area of the city.
“Due to the nature of the city, we are predominantly oil and gas sector focused and felt this is the perfect opportunity to increase our visibility directly within this marketplace. Having considered various options around the city, this building provided us with a unique opportunity to join an area of significant regeneration and investment from some of the world’s leading oil and gas based businesses, whilst also helping to restore a little piece of history. Chris Reid, Operations Director (left) and David Thomson, Managing Director (right) outside Cadherent’s new premises.
“We invested in a six month renovation prior to our move this month, which included the treatment of the granite front and fit out of the interior. We are also very interested in setting up some sort of community art project for the regeneration of the warehouse space – so there are some exciting things to come.”
Room to Grow as Subsea Supplies Move to Larger Offices Subsea Supplies has almost doubled the size of its office and warehouse facilities in Aberdeen in support of its strategic growth plans. The company, which supplies cables, components and connectors to firms operating in underwater-related industries, has relocated to larger premises in the city’s Bridge of Don. Subsea Supplies, which can stock around 100,000 components at its new site, has a team of seven and is looking to recruit an additional two people by the end of the year. Sales manager Pauline McCann said: “The office move has allowed us to enhance our product range to deliver an even better service to clients, many of whom are long-standing.
“Our solid business performance, allied to our quality products, industry knowledge, and reputation for exceptional customer service, means we possess the strength and confidence to make this six-figure investment in the business.
Subsea UK News | September 2015
Subsea Supplies’ Sales Manager, Pauline McCann with Director Andy Smith
“The new facility offers the ability to stock a wider range of products as well as enhanced space for meeting clients and a better working environment for our staff. This is an important step for the business; one that signals optimism in our industry.” The company has moved within Murcar Commercial Park to a fully refurbished 4,000 sq ft unit, while its previous office at the Denmore Road facility was 2,200 sq ft.
Patented Technologies to Support the Integrity of Flexible Pipelines and Risers Flexlife is a specialist provider of life cycle solutions for unbonded flexible pipes and umbilicals. Flexlife works together with our clients to solve their subsea challenges, while contributing to shaping the development of our industry with a unique combination of resourceful innovation and an in-depth understanding and expertise across the entire lifecycle.
• Annulus Testing - The primary purpose of this service is to demonstrate outer sheath splash zone integrity with the use of Volumetric Flow Measurement and Totaliser (patent applied for). • FlexGel - This patented product is unique to Flexlife and has been developed in order to address any issues relating to internal corrosion within caissons, I-tubes or J-tubes. • Riser Scanning - The Neptune System, used by Flexlife for riser scanning, is a unique ROV mounted subsea inspection tool designed by Oceaneering and utilising Flexlife’s patented UT scanning technology in order to determine the state of a flexible riser’s annulus with 100% accuracy. • Armadillo Riser Repair - Flexlife’s patented Armadillo repair system is a unique approach to riser outer sheath repair, specifically designed to repair instances of outer sheath damage on flexible pipes.
We have experienced a buoyant 2015 carrying out numerous Inspection, Maintenance and Repair projects for global clients keeping the team busy despite difficult industry conditions. A tighter operating environment has placed an ever-increasing emphasis upon Flexlife’s core speciality, assisting clients to safely maximise the remnant life of ageing flexible pipe assets.
other analyses required in riser remnant life assessment. Being independent and working with many clients on a series of different projects has allowed Flexlife to develop a unique knowledge and understanding of all the major flexible pipe providers.
Flexlife have developed a range of patented Subsea Technology services, many of which are highly innovative and useful in supporting the operation of flexible pipes, umbilicals and steel risers. We also have a wide range of capability and experience in providing Engineering, Delivery and Integrity Services. Life extension of flexible risers is becoming critical to most operators as some existing assets are nearing their design life. Also as a requirement of constant justification to HSE and BSEE, flexible risers are required to be fit-for purpose and have sufficient operational life. Having been involved in varying projects, Flexlife is recognised throughout the industry for our expertise and excellence in carrying out flexible riser offshore testing and assessments as well as
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Aberdeen: +44 (0) 1224 617900 and Houston: +1 281 665 7159
Subsea UK News | September 2015
Published on Sep 7, 2015
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