The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Sep/Oct 2016


New subsea firm awarded first contract in UK waters

Rovco founder Brian Allen

A new subsea company has officially launched with the announcement of its first UK contract. An independent company focused on underwater integrity, remotely operated vehicles, surveying and subsea services for both oil and gas and renewables, Rovco has secured a contract with a UK Marine Trust.  

Headquartered in Bristol, UK, the new, privately funded organisation aims to become a leading ROV and inspection company within the next three years, with expertise and capacity to carry out underwater inspection projects across the globe. The company is also about to embark on its second underwater survey project in partnership with a South West of England diving company. 

Led by chief executive and founder Brian Allen, Rovco said it will take a unique approach to technical subsea challenges by offering a high quality, cost effective solution for underwater hydrographic survey and inspection services, using high-resolution state-of-the-art 4K cameras and 360-degree scanning sonars. 

With over 15 years of experience in the subsea industry, Allen previously managed multiple ROV systems on construction, inspection and lay vessels as a superintendent for DeepOcean of the Netherlands.  

He said: “After many years of working in the industry and being aware of how adopting new techniques could significantly reduce subsea operating costs and increase efficiency, I decided it was time to set up Rovco and do just that. Our independence, global capabilities and focus on subsea integrity will be what differentiates Rovco from what is currently being offered in the marketplace.” 

He added: “In this low oil price environment, our clients are looking for lower cost subsea services while still maintaining a high focus on safety and quality. We believe in running a competitive business model that meets these expectations and provides the best ROV pilots the industry has to offer.”

With a fleet of 10 ROVs, Allen said Rovco has the resources required to provide inshore/offshore services and inspections anywhere in the world.   

“A single diver-led subsea inspection would typically involve a minimum team of five, with a catalogue of limitations and regulations to follow,” he said. “Using an ROV is safer, easier, cheaper and guarantees the collection of higher quality information and data. Utilising the latest 4K cameras on the market, we can provide the highest quality images in the industry, with accurate positional information, no decompression, and no risk to the people involved, in even the world’s most challenging seas.”

 Rovco has been backed by Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator programme for new and growing ventures. The company is also a member of Subsea UK.

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, said: “Rovco has launched at a time when a number of companies are feeling the strain of the sustained low oil price, however the company’s business model is built around exactly what the industry needs to overcome these challenges.

“There is a cluster of subsea companies in the South West of England and Subsea UK is committed to supporting and promoting this expertise to the subsea supply chain at home and abroad.”

Decommissioning website launched for North Sea oil and gas industry

Decom North Sea, the representative body for the North Sea decommissioning industry, reports the launch of the Late Life Planning Portal.

The operational website – also known as L2P2 – has been designed to support the North Sea oil and gas industry in the planning and execution of late life and decommissioning projects. Providing a single access point for knowledge sharing and cross sector learning, Decom North Sea said L2P2 reflects its overarching objective to bring the regulators, operators and supply chain together to create the co-operative environment required by the decommissioning industry.

Roger Esson, chief executive of Decom North Sea, said: “Decommissioning is a long game, with more than 40 years of decommissioning activity yet to take place and around 90% of North Sea assets yet to be decommissioned. For that to happen as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible in the long term, we need to make good decisions in the Late Life phase.

“Taking that into account, it is easy to understand why Decom North Sea has developed a portal which provides the ultimate decommissioning toolkit: a repository for lessons learned, a forum for discussion and a gateway to contacts, analytics and market intelligence. At this stage in any industry, a toolkit such as this provides fundamental support in achieving the overarching objectives of efficiency, simplification, standardisation and cooperation.”

L2P2 project manager Pamela Ogilvie said: “I am confident that L2P2 will be adopted as an industry standard information portal – we believe the potential is limitless.”

ROVOP jobs

ROV service provider ROVOP reports it is to increase its Houston, USA, workforce as a result of further business growth including recent contract wins in the Gulf of Mexico region. 

The company said the growth follows the successful completion of a pipeline installation campaign in Mexico with Drebbel de Mexico, which has led to follow-on work. 

The initial project with Drebbel involved the use of an ROV for concrete mattress installation for the first time in Mexican waters. 

“As a result of the successful project, ROVOP and Drebbel will work together again on another new scheme with a large multi-national service operator to provide ROV services for pre-lay survey, riser inspection and crossing fabrication with concrete mattresses,” said a spokesman. 

The spokesman said both projects build on ROVOP’s track record for delivering inspection, maintenance and repair, decommissioning and installation projects in the US Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico as well as West Africa and South East Asia over the last three years.  

In support of these project wins, ROVOP – which currently employs around 135 people globally – anticipates increasing its workforce by up to 10% this year.   

Revised IMCA guidance on underwater air lift bags

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has revised IMCA D 016 ‘Guidance on Open Parachute Type Underwater Air Lift Bags’. The new version is now ready for free downloading from the IMCA website.

“The guidance addresses the initial and periodic examination, testing, certification and maintenance of open parachute-type underwater air lift bags used to lift submerged objects,” said IMCA. “It also addresses the operational use of these bags and the safety precautions that should be taken during their use. The principal major revisions in this fourth revision are to those sections dealing with the use of inverter lines and hold-back rigging, and to the diagrams in the guidance document.”


Subsea operations and manufacturing company JFD, part of James Fisher and Sons, UK, has announced the acquisition of LEXMAR, Singapore.

JFD said the acquisition of LEXMAR improves its capability and offering of specialist diving equipment services to the Asia Pacific market, enhances the production capacity and customer support in this area, as well as strengthening its support to the Singaporean Navy for all activities related to submarine rescue.

Giovanni Corbetta, JFD’s managing director, said: “The addition of LEXMAR brings JFD to the forefront of diving equipment capability and saturation diving systems offering and support and will further strengthen our vision to support our clients’ core operations by offering market leading technology solutions and world-class support.”

Phoenix adds Super Mohawk to ROV pool

Phoenix International, USA, has announced it has taken delivery of a Super Mohawk II inspection-class ROV system. Capable of operating in depths of up to 3000 metres, the vehicle can be supplied as free flying or with a tether management system and deployed on any vessels of opportunity, the company said.

“Fitted with dual one-atmosphere electronic pods, a SubCan control, protection and diagnostics system and a camera pan and tilt unit, the Super Mohawk II is a robust, durable and long proven ROV designed for high payload, with plenty of open deck space and skid mounted options,” Phoenix added. “It is suitable for a wide variety of tasks including inspection, maintenance and repair, surveys and intervention works.”

MeyGen project energised at Ness of Quoys

Atlantis, UK, has announced a major technical milestone for its flagship MeyGen project in northern Scotland. The MeyGen project is now connected to the 33kV Ness of Quoys distribution network following the successful installation of one of the longest underground 33kV power export cables in the UK by the network operator, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD).

The connection complies with the National Grid Code and has required more than 25-kilometres of distribution network upgrades along with infrastructure upgrades at two substations.

When fully built out, the 400MW project is expected to generate enough predictable and emissions free electricity to power 175,000 Scottish homes. The first tidal turbines will be installed over the coming months and the project remains on track to deliver first power in the second half of 2016, according to Atlantis.

Tim Cornelius, chief executive officer of Atlantis, said: “The connection of our flagship MeyGen project to the SHEPD distribution network marks a huge technical major milestone for Atlantis and the tidal stream industry more broadly. It has involved years of hard work, persistence, perseverance and determination by our team and all of the contractors and consultants involved in the onshore work scope. We believe this is now the world’s largest energised grid connection of any commercial tidal stream array. We have made great progress over recent months at MeyGen on turbine and foundation preparation and we very much look forward to delivering first power to the grid later this year.”





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