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USA: Hornbeck Plans to Build Sixteen New Generation Offshore Supply Vessels


Hornbeck Offshore ServicesBoard of Directors has approved a new vessel construction program for its wholly-owned subsidiary, Hornbeck Offshore Services, LLC. The Company plans to build sixteen U.S.-flagged 300 class DP-2 new generation offshore supply vessels (OSV) for its Upstream business segment with options to build an additional 16 substantially similar vessels should future market conditions warrant their construction.

This will be the Company’s eighth vessel newbuild program since its inception in 1997, and its fifth newbuild program involving state-of-the-art, technologically advanced new generation OSVs.

The Company expects the aggregate cost of the first 16 vessels under this program to be approximately $720 million, excluding construction period interest. Construction costs will be funded with cash on-hand, projected free cash flow from operations, other external financing and, if necessary, available capacity under the Company’s currently undrawn and recently expanded $300 million revolving credit facility.

Delivery of the first 16 vessels to be constructed under this program is expected to occur on various dates during 2013 and 2014, which should coincide with the delivery of approximately 145 incremental floaters and high-specification jack-up drilling rigs, currently under construction worldwide, during the same timeframe. Upon completion of the first phase of this OSV newbuild program at the end of 2014, the Company projects that the weighted-average age, based on deadweight tons, of its pro forma 67-vessel fleet of new generation OSVs will be seven years. The Company is now in the process of finalizing negotiations with selected domestic shipyards and expects to enter into definitive contracts in the near future.

These new 300 class OSVs are particularly well-suited for the increased demands of deepwater and ultra-deepwater customers for high-specification vessels, while maintaining an overall size that maximizes efficiency from an operating cost perspective. These vessels will be built in the United States, which qualifies them for coastwise trade in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, or the GoM, under the Jones Act; however, the Company expects them to service the anticipated increase in deepwater and ultra-deepwater drilling activity in all three of the Company’s core geographic markets of the GoM, Brazil and Mexico. The 300 class DP-2 vessel design contemplated by this newbuild program features 6,000 deadweight tons and 20,000 barrels of liquid mud carrying capacity. The length and high load capacity of these OSVs also make them ideal candidates for conversion into deepwater construction service and for subsea inspection, repair and maintenance work. The Company expects these new 300 class vessels to offer double the deadweight tons and more than double the liquid mud capacity of its 240 class OSVs, which should allow the 300 class OSVs to command higher dayrates commensurate with their increased size and capabilities.

Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc. is a leading provider of technologically advanced, new generation offshore supply vessels primarily in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Latin America, and is a leading short-haul transporter of petroleum products through its coastwise fleet of ocean-going tugs and tank barges primarily in the northeastern U.S. and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Hornbeck Offshore currently owns a fleet of 80 vessels primarily serving the energy industry.


UAE: Topaz Enters USD 380 Million Refinancing Deal


UAE-based Topaz Energy and Marine, a leading oilfield services multinational and subsidiary of Renaissance Services, has announced a US$ 380 million financing initiative, led by Standard Chartered Bank and DVB Bank.

The initiative will involve both regional and international lenders in a refinancing deal that features Topaz’s offshore support vessel (OSV) division, Topaz Marine, which ranks among the top ten OSV operators world-wide.

In its half-year statement, the parent-company Renaissance Services, publicly listed in Oman’s Muscat Securities Market, stated its intention to refinance some existing borrowings and consolidate financing facilities with a syndicate of banks.

Vishal Goenka, Chief Financial Officer of Renaissance, said, “This deal will significantly improve Topaz’s liquidity, unlock trapped equity, and increase the availability of new funds to capitalize on future growth opportunities. The interest from our relationship banks and also from new banks in this deal is very encouraging and reaffirms the market’s appreciation of the company’s business model and governance. Out of US$ 380 million, approximately US$ 125 million is for vessels under construction and for investments in new vessels. ”

Goenka added that the company expects the financing initiative to be completed before the end of December 2011.

Strong Support

“This financing, including a hunting license for additional vessel growth, puts Topaz in a unique position to accelerate from an enhanced balance sheet platform,” said Geir Sjurseth, Managing Director & Global Head Offshore Support Group of DVB Bank.

DVB Bank, which specializes in global offshore finance, is an active player in the Middle East market. “We are delighted to expand our excellent relations with Topaz and its parent company Renaissance to support the company’s continued growth objectives. DVB has gained considerable expertise dealing with Topaz through its MENA, Caspian and non-Caspian vessel operations, and we will continue to support the leading OSV operator in its core markets,” added Sjurseth.

Commenting on the alliance, Nigel Anton, Managing Director and Head of Shipping Finance at Standard Chartered Bank, said, “Standard Chartered is delighted to be able to strengthen our relationship by supporting Topaz with their ambitious growth plans; our co-arrangement of this transaction together with DVB Bank underpins our belief in the future success of Topaz. Standard Chartered as a well-capitalized and liquid bank remains fully committed to the region and the shipping business.”


Norway: STX OSV to Build 4 PSVs for Island Offshore


STX OSV Holdings Limited (“STX OSV”), one of the major global designers and shipbuilders of offshore and specialized vessels, announced that it has secured new contracts for the construction of four Platform Supply Vessels (PSV) for Island Offshore. 

The combined value of all four contracts exceeds NOK 1 billion. The first two contracts are expected to become effective in November 2011, and the remaining two in January 2012. All four contracts are subject to financing approvals.

The vessels will be of Rolls Royce’s UT 717 CD design. The overall length of each vessel will be 84.3 meters with a beam of 17 meters, and the deadweight will be approximately 3800 DWT.

Deliveries are scheduled from STX OSV Brevik in Norway in the third and fourth quarter 2013 respectively for the first two vessels, and in the first quarter 2014 for the other two vessels. The hulls of the vessels will be delivered from STX OSV Braila in Romania.

The Island Offshore Group is a leading provider of services to the offshore industry managing a fleet of 20 high quality vessels with an average age of less than four years, currently operating in Brazil, Mexico, USA and in the North Sea. STX OSV has delivered more than 25 vessels to Island Offshore over the past ten years, and already has four vessels under construction for this long-standing client prior to securing the new contracts.


China: Sinopacific Group Delivers Ulstein Design OSV to Neptune Offshore


In the afternoon of October 26, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group, China’s leading shipbuilding enterprise held the ship naming and delivery ceremony at its Zhejiang shipyard for SX130, the global first fabricated model of Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) built for Neptune Offshore AS.

Gracing this occasion were Ningbo Feng Hua Municipal Party Secretary Rong Xuehai, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Chairman and CEO Simon Liang, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Executive Manager Lin Bo, and representatives from other government departments, the bank, the shipowner, and the ship inspection department.

Together, they witnessed the official naming of the SX130 sister pair as “Neptune Despina” and “Neptune Larissa”. This year alone, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group has successfully delivered three global first fabricated high-end OSVs, such as GPA 696 in April and PX105 in September. With advanced construction capabilities that are rare among global OSV manufacturers, this reflects the group’s ability to manufacture deep-water OSVs and reinforces its position as a leading manufacturer of top-quality OSVs.

SX130 is a classic representative among high-end OSVs as a PSV / IMR vessel used for the inspection, maintenance and repair of offshore facilities to ensure normal and safe working condition. It can meet operational demands with efficient solution for satisfying the general demands of the offshore industry as well. The SX130 was designed by the world-renowned Norwegian design firm Ulstein Design AS, incorporating its exclusive Ulstein X-BowTM. This design guarantees steady navigation and operations in adverse offshore environments, proving higher safety levels. Furthermore, the reduction in sailing resistance effectively reduces fuel consumption and supports the goal of energy conservation. The construction and configuration of the SX130 follows the strict European standards, thereby allowing inspections, repairs and installations to be completed at depths of 3,000 meters and even in dire environments of the North Sea where environmental protection requirements are more demanding.

While the design and construction of high-end OSV was previously concentrated in Europe and North America, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group has “emerged from the competition” based on a forward-looking strategy of differentiated products. Building on a unique strategic positioning of “Leadership in Niche Markets”, the group ultimately won the trust of and OSV orders from European and North American companies based on its merits of excellent project management and technical capabilities, world-class OSV construction facilities and the integrated capabilities of world-class designers and suppliers.

“OSV is akin to the commercial ship in the field of offshore engineering. Its broad application means that all offshore oil and gas exploration projects need it. So I am confident about the future prospects of the OSV market. Although we are taking mostly international OSV orders at present, the local high-end OSV market demand is growing and possesses tremendous market potential.” said Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Chairman and CEO Simon Liang, “Opportunity only favours those who are prepared. We will continue to be strategically-driven, leveraging on a business model of innovative and advanced technologies to maintain our lead in the niche shipbuilding markets.”


China: Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Builds OSV for Bourbon Company


 On the morning of 29 April, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group, China’s leading private shipbuilding enterprise held the ship naming ceremony at its Zhejiang Shipyard for GPA696, the global first fabricated model of Offshore Support Vessel(OSV) built for France’s Bourbon Company. Afterwards, a sea trial event was also held for another global first fabricated OSV, the SX130. Attending this event were Ningbo Mayor Liu Qi, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Chairman and CEO Simon Liang, Sinopacific Executive Manager Lin Bo, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group CFO Jeff Zhang, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group CAO Cathy Jin and representatives from the bank, the shipowner, and the ship inspection department, who all witnessed the GPA696 officially being named the “Ungundja”. The successful production of global first fabricated high-end OSVs such as the GPA696 and the SX130 by Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group’s Zhejiang Shipyard marks the entry of Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group into the ranks of manufacturers of top-grade OSV. This shows that the group has the technical capability to build OSVs that can operate in deep water, thereby establishing the group’s leading position in the field of OSV manufacturing.

The two models of the GPA696 and the SX130 are all IMR vessels, the typical class of high-end OSV. They are used for the inspection, maintenance, and repair of offshore equipment in order to support its normal and safe operation. The IMR products manufactured by Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group are not only equipped with today’s most advanced equipment and systems, but the design standards followed were the highest specifications and most rigorous standards from Europe or North America, while the technologies used are all at the world-class level of science and technology. The GPA696 was researched and developed by the U.S.A.’s GPA design firm to be able to adapt to deep water operations, and it uses the most advanced all-electric propulsion system and the DPIII system. It is also equipped powerful active heave compensated cranes, with lift/reach capabilities up to 150 t and 3000 m water depth reach. The SX130 was designed by the world-renowned Norwegian design firm Ulstein, and its bow uses the unique X-Bow design, making it the first Chinese-made ship to use this type of bow. This design can guarantee level navigation and operations in adverse marine environments, providing higher safety. It can also lower ship resistance and reduce fuel consumption, thereby reaching the goal of energy conservation. The SX130 is also equipped with ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) to bring about remote control of underwater robots from the ship. It can inspect, repair, and install equipment at depths of 4,000 meters. The SX130 not only can adapt to deep water operations, but it can even operate in the North Sea. In the offshore industry, the operations environment of the North Sea is usually more adverse, and the environmental protection requirements of the European Union are very high as well, so ships that are able to operate in the North Sea are considered to be of a higher class.

Previously, the design and construction of this kind of high-end OSV was basically only done in Europe and North America. It is the first time in this industry for a global first fabricated ship like this to be built in a shipyard in China. Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group has an OSV global market share of one-third, which makes it the world’s largest OSV manufacturer. The successful construction of these high-end first fabricated ships proves that the OSV manufacturing capacity of Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group has been ungraded to a new level and that its product line is constantly extending toward high-end products.

Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Executive Manager Lin Bo gave the following reasons for why the group is able to obtain orders for high-end OSV products from European and North American companies. First is Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group’s technical capability. They started to organize their own design team seven years ago, and this team has accumulated a great deal of experience in OSV design. They not only fully understand the needs of clients, but they can also do localized optimized integration for foreign-made design plans according to the actual situations of Chinese shipyards. Sinopacific currently has developed four OSVs of their own design, including the SPA80 AHTS ,the SPP17 PSV , the SPP35 PSV and SPU1000 and has already received dozens of orders. Second is its world-class OSV construction facilities and modern shipbuilding style. Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group’s Zhejiang Shipyard has three world-class OSV production lines, of which two are indoor slipways. The lifting capacity, ground area, and comprehensive capabilities were specially designed for OSV construction. Sinopacific’s modern product-oriented shipbuilding style of the organic integration of design, production, information, and logistics into one greatly improves OSV construction efficiency. Third is the integration of the capabilities of world-class designers and suppliers, which is the key for success in the field of OSV product manufacturing. Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group excels at cooperation with well-known foreign design firms like Ulstein and GPA and can transform their detailed designs into production designs that meet the local manufacturing conditions. Sinopacific also fully understands the performance levels of marine auxiliary equipment products of all world-class suppliers and can find the optimal combination for selecting parts when constructing OSV products.

Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Chairman and CEO Simon Liang explained the group’s secret of success on a more strategic level. After doing market research, the group set the product development strategy of “Leadership in Niche Markets” a few years ago when they saw that the bulk cargo ship market was full of competition but the offshore vessel market was relatively open. When the global ship market declined due to the financial crisis, many shipyards lost orders or even went out of business, but Sinopacific relied on its forward-looking strategy to calmly pass through the crisis and even received its largest OSV order of one billion U.S. dollars in 2010 after the financial crisis.

As the progress of global offshore oil and gas exploration and development speeds up and matures, the demand for OSVs is now constantly increasing around the world. As part of the offshore economic and industrial policies of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, offshore engineering equipment has been included as a key industry to receive strong support from the national government during this period. This will undoubtedly bring opportunities for new development for Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group, which already has a presence in the OSV market and has accumulated a great deal of experience. The OSVs of Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group are essential auxiliary ships for large-scale offshore engineering equipment such as drilling platforms and floating production storage and offloading ships and can provide complementary functionality for large-scale equipment in the processes of developing, producing, and storing oil and gas. “It is like the commercial ship of offshore engineering because every project exploring for offshore oil and gas needs it. It has a wide range of purposes, and more than one type of ship will be needed, so I am very optimistic about the prospects of the OSV market,” said Simon Liang. With the other high end offshore vessel PX105 under construction, he is confident to speak so.

Original Article

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