The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Nov/Dec 2016


DOF Subsea wins Athena decommissioning contract

The contract will utilise vessels from DOF Subsea's state-of-the-art fleet

DOF Subsea, the Norway-headquartered provider of integrated subsea services, has been awarded a contract by Ithaca Energy, UK, for phase 1 of the decommissioning of the Ithaca operated Athena Field in the UK North Sea.

The scope of work includes removing the subsea water column infrastructure that has been used on the field. The contract will utilise vessels from DOF Subsea’s state-of-the-art fleet.

Robert Gillespie, managing director of DOF Subsea’s UK operation, said: “This is a very important project for us. Conditions in the industry are challenging, but the North Sea decommissioning sector is active and we are well positioned to deliver in this market. We have completed several decommissioning projects in recent years, and we are looking forward to working with Ithaca Energy on this scope.

“Project management and engineering are established strengths at DOF Subsea, enabling us to provide a full decommissioning service to a high standard. In everything we undertake, our teams are dedicated to efficient and safe operations, consistently delivering the best results for our clients.”

Athena is located in UK Continental Shelf block 14/18B in the central North Sea (Outer Moray Firth area) at a water depth of 130 metres. Ithaca ceased production from the Athena field in January 2016, with the FPSO departing the field in February 2016.

Bespoke diving spread

Submarine Manufacturing & Products (SMP), UK, reports the manufacture and supply of a bespoke air/gas diving spread unit for an international subsea service contractor. The company said it had been approached by GloMar Subsea, the Netherlands, to design, develop and manufacture a fully certified 20-foot (six-metre) containerised recompression support chamber, alongside a 20-foot all-inclusive machinery and mixed gas dive control, to support its offshore diving activities.

The entire bespoke project was designed, fabricated, painted, assembled and tested at SMP’s site in Preston, Lancashire.

The air/gas diving spread consisted of a twin basket launch and recovery system fitted with depth monitoring, a modified and containerised 1.8-metre DDC complete with skid-mounted gas storage and a bespoke mixed gas dive control and machinery container.

The project, from initial conception to final acceptance testing, was delivered in 120 days with a further two days of in-house familiarisation training for the customer prior to shipping.

Ross Connolly, sales manager at SMP, said: “It is vitally important that we work closely with our customers at all stages from enquiry through to completion to ensure that we design and supply exactly what they need. This concept can also be taken forward to include servicing and re-certification if required by the customer.”

The 1.8-metre ID recompression chamber was manufactured with gas storage beneath and a weatherproof maintenance access hatch to ensure the cylinders can be retrieved for periodical inspection. In addition, a remote control panel was installed adjacent to the chamber along with internal chamber CCTV cameras and a sophisticated decompression monitor.

The addition of the under-skid gas storage had the added benefit of removing the requirement for additional gas storage quads or low-pressure compressors, thus reducing the overall deck footprint of the entire system.

Complying with GloMar’s requirements, the machinery area comprises two HP compressors, air storage quad and electrical distribution with vents and cooling extractor fans to expel the hot air generated by the compressors, as well as ensuring the machinery operates cool and efficiently.


The inbuilt air storage quad added the extra advantage of supplying the three-diver mixed gas dive panel with an additional reserve supply of breathing air for the divers in the water.

Rodger Weitzel, GloMar Subsea general manager, was pleased with the end result. “We are very happy with the delivery of the dive spread, we have installed it already on one of our vessels (the GloMar Wave) and will start working with it in the coming weeks,” he said.

Vard Group awards ACE contract for Norway's largest construction vessel

UK-based deck machinery specialist ACE Winches reports it has been awarded a spooling contract with Vard Group for Norway’s largest construction vessel.

The scope of work includes the spooling of two 3500-metre ROV umbilicals and the spooling of a crane boom wire and aux wire, including 3900 metres of 135-millimetre wire on to the vessel’s crane.

The largest wire on the project weighs 360 tonnes – ACE Winches had to build a new upgraded spooling winch to accommodate the weight. The contract will see a dedicated team work on the project.

Maersk Supply Service wins Janice field decommissioning contract
  • Crew on board 'Maersk Achiever' recovering the first riser from the Janice field

Maersk Supply Service, Denmark, has been awarded a contract to provide decommissioning services for Janice field in the North Sea for Maersk Oil UK. Maersk Supply Service will assume responsibility for engineering, project planning and managing the scope of the subsea decommissioning.

The Janice project will employ up to 10 vessels, utilising all three of the company’s asset types: anchor handler, platform supply and subsea support vessels. To date, all anchor chains have been disconnected, the first risers have been recovered and removed and the tow-away of the floating production unit has been completed.

As lead contractor, Maersk Supply Service has brought in three sub-contractors to execute the deconstruction of the Janice subsea facilities from start to finish. The project partners are supporting the engineering, ROV work and waste management aspects of the project.

The end date is estimated to be during the summer of 2018.

OPENSEA platform selected for new VideoRay vehicle
  • The new Mission Specialist ROV

Greensea, the USA-based creator of the OPENSEA operating platform, reports it has been selected by VideoRay, USA, as the software provider for the new Mission Specialist ROV.

The Mission Specialist’s modular design maximises efficiency and productivity by transforming to accommodate a wide selection of interchangeable ROV components, according to VideoRay. Initial configurations of the vehicle are available for cavitation, tunnel inspection and destruction of explosive ordnance.

“Modularity allows a product to be adaptable while remaining robust,” said Greensea chief executive officer Ben Kinnaman. “A decade ago, we began building the OPENSEA operating platform with a modular design because we foresaw the need for flexible software to support the varied needs of the marine industry.”

“I am extremely impressed with how easily and how well Greensea integrated their software with our new MSS architecture,” said VideoRay’s vice president of engineering, Andy Goldstein. “This is a big advance for ease of use and simplifying the operation of such a powerful platform – particularly the dialed-in performance of the automated control modes, such as auto heading and depth.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to add Greensea to the arsenal of solutions we can offer to ensure the success of our customers’ missions.”

BP and Oceaneering agree two-year extension to offshore Angola contract
  • The 'Ocean Intervention III'

Oceaneering, USA, and BP have agreed a two-year extension through January 2019 under the field support vessel services contract that was entered into for work offshore Angola on blocks 18 and 31.

Under this contract term extension, the Ocean Intervention III will remain chartered through April 2017, with five option periods for further extension of one-month each.

Additional vessels and services, if any, would be provided during the remaining period of the contract, on as-needed basis, Oceaneering said.

M. Kevin McEvoy, chief executive officer of Oceaneering, said: “We are pleased to have secured this contract extension with BP. In support of this contract, we are also providing a wide range of vessel-related subsea services, including remotely operated vehicles, tooling, asset integrity and diving services. This extension strengthens our long-term commitment in Angola, which we see as a vital deepwater market for Oceaneering’s services and products.”

SMD wins contract for supply of ROV package to Shanghai Salvage

Shanghai Salvage Company (also known as China Offshore Engineering Shanghai, Co) has signed an order with SMD, UK, for a Quasar MKII 6000-metre ROV.

Scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2017, the system will include a full suite of equipment suitable for both deep-sea salvage and oil and gas operations.

“We are delighted that Shanghai Salvage has chosen SMD as its ROV equipment supplier,” said Mark Collins, managing director of SMD ROV Systems. “This system includes some new innovations in ROV modularity that will enable the client to operate across a wider range of markets, maximising revenue potential from its SMD asset. We believe that modular systems, which can be quickly optimised for a particular operation, will become important as clients continue to seek reductions in their operating costs.”

Deck equipment for the project, which will be designed and manufactured by SMD, includes a dual use 3000-/6000-metre winch and two cursor launch and recovery systems, one of which will be hanger mounted, the other mobile.

The umbilical winches will be electrically driven with an axial fleeting configuration and active heave compensation, and provide the ability for interchangeable drums to accommodate steel wire armoured and aramid umbilical.

Oceanscan invests in Tritech's Gemini systems

Tritech International, UK, reports it has secured a deal with UK-based Oceanscan for the purchase of multiple Gemini 720is and narrow beam imaging (NBI) units from Tritech’s range of multibeam imaging sonars.


The Gemini 720is, an upgrade of the Gemini 720i, combines the benefits of high-definition imaging with long-range target detection making it ideal for AUV and ROV platforms, including installation on pan and tilt units, according to Tritech.

“The enhanced electronics offer real-time visualisation and a fast update rate of 30Hz across a 120-degree field-of-view. The Gemini 720is is also ideally suited for target recognition, subsea monitoring and inspection and obstacle detection,” said the company.

Oceanscan has also invested in the Gemini NBI which is suitable for use in pipe and cable lay tracking, ROV and AUV navigation and mining visualisation. “The product produces an acoustic image, cutting through water with a narrow acoustic beam and at a high refresh rate. Based on the design of the Gemini 720is, the NBI is able to produce images with a 10-millimetre range resolution while the 0.5-inch (1.27-centimetre) horizontal angular resolutions results in an extremely sharp sonar image,” said Tritech.

Adil Ali, Oceanscan subsea sales manager, said: “Tritech’s subsea technology is recognised as some of the best in the market with its products trusted and widely deployed. The Gemini sonars will be a welcome addition to our rental pool and fill a gap in our subsea technology offering, particularly for mass flow excavation, imaging trench profiles and general ROV-deployed subsea visualisation.”

Sonardyne acoustics selected for flagship Brazilian vessel

Brazil’s most advanced ROV support vessel, the Fugro Aquarius, has specified acoustic positioning technology supplied by Sonardyne Brasil Ltda to support its subsea inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) activities in the region. 

Already delivered and fully commissioned, the Ranger 2 ultra-short baseline (USBL) system is being used to track the precise position of the vessel’s work-class ROVs in water depths of up to 3000 metres. It is also providing the vessel’s dynamic positioning system with position reference data to allow it to remain on-location whilst survey operations are underway.  

Launched in 2015, the 83-metre long Fugro Aquarius has been designed specifically for the Brazilian market with more than 60% of local content. This April, Petrobras awarded the vessel a one-year contract to carry out work including subsea video and data acquisition, site investigations and asset integrity monitoring. 

For its vessel, Fugro, the Netherlands, specified that the Ranger 2 be configured with Sonardyne’s deep water optimised GyroUSBL 7000. The design of GyroUSBL incorporates a USBL transceiver and high survey-grade inertial sensor in the same unit. This combination increases precision by eliminating common sources of system error such as lever arm offsets, pole bending and ship flexing, according to Sonardyne.
Deployed through the vessel’s hull using a Sonardyne-built machine, GyroUSBL calculates the position of the vessel’s two Fugro-built 150HP ROVs by measuring the range and bearing to the Wideband mini transponder (WMT) fitted to each vehicle. Small and lightweight, WMTs offer reliable tracking performance in crowded offshore environments where multiple vessels frequently conduct simultaneous operations in close proximity to each other, Sonardyne said.  

Speaking about Fugro’s decision to equip the Fugro Aquarius with Ranger 2, Barry Cairns, regional head of Sonardyne Brasil Ltda, said: “It demonstrates their commitment to investing in the best available subsea technology for their IRM operations offshore Brazil. We’re confident they will quickly see a return on that investment in the form of faster and more efficient survey operations and greater vessel utilisation.”





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