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USA: Helix Marks Strong Market Demand for Deepwater Well Intervention Services

Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. announced that it has been awarded its initial customer contractual commitments for the Helix 534. The Helix 534 was acquired in August from Transocean and is undergoing modifications and upgrades necessary for conversion into a well intervention vessel at the Jurong Shipyard in Singapore.

The Helix 534 is scheduled to sail from Singapore during the first quarter of 2013 and after transit to the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to be placed into service in late second quarter 2013. Backlog for the Helix 534 involves work in the Gulf of Mexico and extends into 2016.

Meanwhile, the Q4000 has extended its strong contractual backlog through 2014, with strong customer interest into 2016.

Helix also announced that the Skandi Constructor has also received its initial contractual awards. The Skandi Constructor is a chartered vessel and is expected to enter the Helix well intervention fleet in the spring of 2013. Its initial contract involves work in the North Sea and follows with a project off the eastern Canadian coast.

Helix’s two existing North Sea based well intervention vessels, the Seawell and the Well Enhancer, have been awarded customer contracts into the fourth quarter of 2013.

Owen Kratz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helix, stated, “The recent contract awards for our two new additions to the well intervention fleet, the Helix 534 and the Skandi Constructor, as well as the growing backlog for our existing fleet, reflects the strong market demand for deepwater well intervention services as well as Helix’s market leadership for these services. Furthermore, customer interest for our newbuild semisubmersible well intervention vessel, the Q5000, remains high. The Q5000 is currently under construction at the Jurong Shipyard in Singapore and is scheduled to enter the fleet in early 2015.”

Subsea World News – USA: Helix Marks Strong Market Demand for Deepwater Well Intervention Services.

Aker Bags Subsea Intervention Services Contract Offshore Angola

Aker Solutions’ subsidiary Aker Oilfield Services has received a contract from Total E&P Angola for providing subsea intervention services from the oil services company’s purpose-built intervention vessel, Skandi Aker. The agreement marks a breakthrough for vessel-based intervention services in deep and ultra-deep waters.

The agreement is valid for a period of two (2) years plus options for three further one-year (1+1+1) periods. The firm two-year part of the contract has an aggregated value of approximately USD 250 million. Start-up of operations is planned to take place offshore Angola in Q1 2013.

Skandi Aker is the first well service vessel of its kind capable of performing riser-based subsea well intervention in deep and ultra-deep waters. Traditionally subsea well intervention has been performed from drilling rigs. But the rigs’ high day rates have made such operations very expensive, while rig availability has been limited. The increasing water depths also mean that it has been necessary to develop alternative technology and more cost effective systems to access deepwater wells.

“Skandi Aker is able to perform deepwater well intervention services that oil companies previously needed drilling rigs to conduct. More importantly we do it quicker and more cost effectively, which will increase the frequency of intervention operations and enable our customers’ subsea wells to produce more oil and gas,” says Karl Erik Kjelstad, president of Aker Oilfield Services and head of the Oilfield Services & Marine Assets (OMA) business area in Aker Solutions.

“We are thrilled with this award and to be able to deliver on our vision of developing a cost effective technology for intervention activities at deepwater subsea fields. We are humble about the trust placed in us by Total E&P Angola and their license partners, and look forward to deliver high quality services with the ultimate aim of increasing oil recovery ratios,” adds Kjelstad.

Under the contract Skandi Aker will perform subsea intervention activities related to:

– Well re-entry for testing operations

– Well re-entry for interventions using wireline, coil tubing and well stimulations

– Running/lifting subsea trees with cable or work-over riser

– Suspension or plug and abandonment of wells

Provision of the downhole well services, well test services and ROV services will be provided through separate contracts, outside Aker Solutions’ scope of services for Total E&P Angola.

“In recent years we have made significant investments in developing capabilities for vessel-based subsea intervention activities – both with regards to suitable deepwater technologies and services. We are pleased to see that these investments continue to materialise into contracts,” adds Karl Erik Kjelstad.

Aker Oilfield Services has built up significant resources for subsea intervention and subsea well intervention work. In addition to Skandi Aker, Skandi Santos has since March 2010 been operating very successfully on a 5+ year contract performing subsea intervention work offshore Brazil. Further, In April 2012 the company was awarded a long-term agreement with Statoil to provide a full range of heavy well intervention and light drilling services on the Norwegian continental shelf. The contract period is for eight years, with options for three further two-year periods (2+2+2). Work will be performed from a new build Category B well intervention rig owned and operated by Aker Oilfield Services.

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Aker Solutions to Provide Well Intervention Services to Statoil (Norway)

Aker Solutions has been awarded two contracts from Island Offshore to provide well intervention services for Statoil in the North Sea.

Scope of work is to deliver downhole well intervention services from Island Offshore’s two riserless well intervention vessels Island Frontier and Island Wellserver. These operations include running of mechanical wireline, electrical wireline and wireline tractor services.

The two contracts are valid for five years plus two optional two-year extensions (5+2+2). They will run from 2015, when the current contracts expire.

Aker Solutions has provided downhole services from Island Frontier since 2006 and Island Wellserver since 2009.

Aker Solutions estimates that the two contracts in total will generate revenues between NOK 400 and 500 million during the firm five-year period.

“Through our cooperation with Island Offshore, Aker Solutions has become the world’s most experienced provider of downhole services through riserless light well intervention. To date we have together completed close to 200 interventions on subsea wells. We are thrilled to be able to continue our partnership with them,” says Wolfgang Puennel, head of well intervention services in Aker Solutions.

Well intervention services are carried out in an oil or gas well, with the objective of maximising production and increasing the recovery rate of oil and gas. Well intervention has traditionally been performed from fixed platforms. In more recent years, specially equipped ships have been developed to undertake the same type of service on subsea wells, where recovery rates have been much lower.

500 million Norwegian kroner = 82.4 million U.S. dollars

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Statoil Charters Light Well Intervention Vessels to Increase Recovery

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Statoil has awarded contracts for new light well intervention (LWI) vessels. These “category A” units will contribute to increased recovery from Statoil’s approximately 500 operated subsea wells on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

Statoil has on behalf of relevant licensees awarded a contract to Island Offshore Management and Eide Marine Services for the charter of a total of three LWI vessels.

These purpose-built vessels are used for performing light well interventions, well operations and well maintenance without a riser-based system. Statoil can reduce well intervention costs by about 60% by utilizing a LWI vessel instead of a conventional rig.

“Performing these types of conventional jobs on subsea wells with low volumes of oil in place is expensive. The LWI vessels ensure both cost-efficient and safe operations,” says Statoil’s head of drilling and well Øystein Arvid Håland.

“Having more and new vessels of this category also helps increase recovery from fields on stream by opening new zones in the well, and stopping water production downhole.”

The contracts are worth a total of NOK 9.4 billion (USD 1.57 billion).

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Island Offshore vessels Island Frontier and Island Wellserver, which already have contracts with Statoil, have been awarded new five-year contracts. Eide Well Intervention, a new supplier in this segment for Statoil, has been awarded an eight-year contract for their new build, which employs a completely new technology.

The contracts with both companies come into effect in the spring of 2015, and include two options to extend for another two years.

A growing number of discoveries are developed via subsea wells, and it is important both to have equipment capable of maintaining these and to avoid using conventional drilling rigs for this type of work.

The rig market on the NCS is characterized by an aging rig fleet, and it is necessary to ensure sufficient and adequate rig capacity at sustainable rates. To address this, Statoil has put light LWI vessels – category A units – into service on a large scale.

“We have great ambitions and a long-term perspective on the NCS. Using purpose-built rigs and vessels in our operations is an important part of Statoil’s rig strategy. The high number of subsea wells in the future will require maintenance, and we are securing capacity in order to meet this need,” says Statoil’s chief procurement officer Jon Arnt Jacobsen.

“Island Offshore has delivered solid services and we expect the same going forward. At the same time we are pleased to have increased the number of suppliers in this market, and through the Eide Well Intervention newbuild we are also employing the latest available technology. Together these three vessels will provide us with an efficient service fleet for light well intervention services.”

Statoil has been pursuing riserless well intervention in subsea wells since 2000, and the technology has steadily improved.

The category A units will perform services for Statoil and the partners on the Åsgard, Norne, Gullfaks, Oseberg, Heidrun, Snøhvit, Tyrihans, Tordis/Vigdis, Snorre, Statfjord and Sleipner fields.

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Norway: Statoil, Aker Solutions Enter USD 1.9 bln Cat B Well Intervention Deal

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Statoil is awarding Aker Solutions a contract today for hiring of an entirely new type of rig which represents an important technological advance for the industry.  The category B rig will be an important contribution towards increasing recovery from existing fields.

Development of technology for increasing the recovery from operating fields is an area of commitment for Statoil. For the last year, the average oil recovery rate from Statoil operated fields has risen from 49 percent to 50 percent.

The category B rig is designed and equipped for the industrialisation of drilling and intervention services in existing production wells and represent a new sort of service.

“This will be a very important part of the toolbox for increased recovery on the Norwegian continental shelf, making it possible to produce oil and gas that otherwise would be lost,” says Statoil executive vice president of Technology, Projects and Drilling, Margareth Øvrum. “The category B rig is the result of long-term, targeted technology development to increase subsea well recovery rates.”

In cooperation with the supplier industry, Statoil has developed a new type of rig and well control system specially adapted to carry out well intervention and drilling operations in existing subsea wells.

This type of rig fills the gap between light intervention vessels (category A) and conventional rigs (category C). The category B rig with associated integrated services is expected to reduce operating costs for well intervention by as much as 40%.

New technology

The category B design with integrated services is based on Aker Solutions own studies with a background in Statoil specifications. The rig type is designed for year-round well service in Statoil-operated activities.

The category B design provides the option for a number of different types of well interventions using wireline and coiled tubing operations.

This type of rig is also designed to carry out sidetrack drilling from production tubing (through tubing drilling – TTD) in a manner that allows simultaneous production from both the new sidetrack and existing production tubing. The well services are conducted through existing subsea Christmas trees.

This is an important piece of Statoil’s rig strategy, which is based on fit-for-purpose vessels and rigs for various operations.

The key to maintaining the current production level on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) is increased recovery from existing fields, along with the development of new fields. Increasing drilling activity on mature fields is important in order to achieve the NCS’ full potential.

“New and improved well service methods provide a substantial contribution to increased recovery on the NCS. Statoil currently operates around 500 subsea wells, and we need efficient tools to maintain these. Collaboration between many licences has been a precondition for establishing a long-term work programme. We therefore thank our licence partners for enabling us to realise the category B service together,” says Ivar Aasheim, senior vice president of field development in Statoil.

Statoil and the licensees will enter into an eight-year contract with options for three times two years for the category B service. The estimated value of the contract is USD 1.9 billion. In addition to rig rental, the contract also includes rental of the necessary equipment and services to carry out well intervention, sidetrack drilling, ROV operations, well testing and cementing.  The rig will be in service during 2015.

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Norway: PSA Conducts Audit of Major Accident Risk in Connection with Light Well Intervention

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In December 2011 and January 2012, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of Statoil Petroleum AS (Statoil) and Island Offshore Subsea AS (Island Offshore). The audit was aimed at management of major accident risk and the barrier management system in connection with light well intervention on Island Constructor.

Each year, more than 500 well interventions are carried out on the Norwegian shelf, and this number is expected to grow.

There is a high level of risk associated with work on live wells (major accident potential) and many interfaces (multiple alliance partners).

A survey of well intervention activities carried out during the period 2003 – 2008 concluded that there was a significant need for well interventions on subsea installations. Verification on one of the facilities that carries out light well intervention was implemented to investigate HSE challenges linked with this type of operation.

Island Offshore Management and Island Offshore Subsea have an alliance with FMC and Aker Well Service for operation of the Island Constructor which carries out light well intervention on subsea wells for Statoil.

Objective

* Evaluate the companies’ understanding, knowledge and expertise as relates to major accident risk and managing barriers, on the part of both company management and among the employees.

* Evaluate strategies and principles which are to form the basis for design, use and maintenance of barriers so that the barriers’ function will be safeguarded throughout the entire facility lifetime.

* Verify that performance requirements are established and implemented.

* Develop the PSA’s expertise in following up management’s work to reduce major accident risk, and clarify the need to develop a framework and supervision methods.

* Contribute to the PSA developing its own methods that will form the basis for more effective barrier supervision.

Result

The audit activity uncovered three nonconformities and four improvement items as regards Island Offshore.

The nonconformities related to deficient analysis of defined hazard and accident situations, layout of kill and stimulation lines, and deficient basis for and documentation of maintenance.

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Helix Well Ops UK Completes Well Intervention in West Africa

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Helix Well Ops UK (Well Ops), a business unit of international energy services company Helix Energy Solutions Group (Helix ESG), has successfully completed a three-month campaign for West Africa’s first well intervention work and subsea well operations conducted from a mono-hull intervention vessel.

Operating the 132-metre (433ft) long Well Enhancer, Well Ops performed a subsea tree change out, well suspensions, well maintenance and production enhancement on seven wells in water depths of up to 471m (1,545ft). This project represents the deepest operation conducted from Well Enhancer since it joined the fleet in 2009.

The Well Enhancer’s arrival in the waters west of Africa marked the emergence of mono-hull-based well intervention services in a region that is experiencing rapid development. Compared to rig-based methods, intervention programs delivered from mono-hull vessels provide numerous operational and cost benefits to operators.

Steve Nairn, Well Ops’ regional vice president of Europe and Africa, said: “Providing operators with alternatives to rig-based well intervention brings new cost and time efficiencies to West African oil and gas projects. Because Well Enhancer deploys more quickly than a rig, and is designed specifically for well intervention work, she reduces down time and helps operators return as quickly as possible to their business of oil and gas production.”

Well Enhancer

Well Enhancer provides remotely operated vehicle (ROV), saturation diving and riser-based and riserless well intervention services. It features a 150-tonne multipurpose tower which is capable of deploying slickline, e-line and coiled tubing tool strings for well interventions in water depths of up to 600m (1,968ft) for wireline and 200m (656ft) for coiled-tubing. The vessel’s other key features include a 7⅜” subsea intervention lubricator which is a conduit for both live well access and well containment, an 18-man saturation diving spread, work and observation class ROV’s, kill pumps, and a 100-tonne crane which is rated to operate to water depths of 600m (1,968ft).

A business unit of Helix Energy Solutions Group, Aberdeen-based Helix Well Ops UK provides a range of well operation and decommissioning services using specialist vessels and innovative equipment. Launched in 1987, MSV Seawell was a pioneer of the light well intervention market and completed its first wireline intervention project in 1988. In 2009, Well Ops expanded its fleet with the launch of Well Enhancer, a 132-metre (433ft) long well intervention and diving vessel. The company employs 70 staff in Aberdeen and a further 300 offshore.

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Helix Orders Semi-Sub Well Intervention Rig in Singapore

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Houston-based subsea well intervention specialist, Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc., has signed a contract with Sembcorp Marine’s subsidiary Jurong Shipyard in Singapore for the construction of its newbuild semisubmersible well intervention rig previously announced by Helix in February. The estimated value of the contract is US$385.5 million.

Owen Kratz, Helix’s Chairman and CEO, stated, “We are pleased to have selected a proven partner in Jurong Shipyard to leverage on our market and technological leadership in subsea well intervention. This new asset, engineered and designed based on the lessons learned from our successful Q4000 platform, is being constructed to meet an increasing market demand for specialized deepwater well intervention services worldwide. We look forward to the delivery of this new-generation advanced well intervention vessel and plan to expand this business segment even further.”

The semi-submersible well intervention rig will be built based on Bassoe Technology’s naval architectural design with Helix’s equipment layout. Featuring the latest technology, the rig is an efficient purpose-designed platform with capabilities to perform a wide variety of tasks, including conventional and extended top hold drilling, subsea construction, decommissioning well intervention, coiled tubing operations and twin ROV deployment.

Mr Don Lee, Senior General Manager, Jurong Shipyard’s Offshore Division said, “We are honoured that Helix has entrusted us with the construction of this highly specialised deepwater semi-submersible well intervention rig. This rig is Jurong Shipyard’s first specialised platform with well intervention and subsea capabilities and represents a significant advance for us in this growing new market segment. We would like to thank Helix for awarding us this contract, which is a testament to Jurong Shipyard’s rig construction capabilities and versatility in developing purpose-designed solutions for the offshore industry. We are committed to build on this new partnership with Helix and to meet their stringent standards of quality, safety and reliability

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