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Rigless suspended-well abandonment

Offshore Installation Services (OIS), an Acteon company, has successfully completed its 16th rigless suspended-well abandonment campaign involving multiple operators in the Southern North Sea. The multi-operator model for programmes of this kind can deliver significant customer benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness. A total of nine mudline wells in categories 1, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 were abandoned during the operation including four on behalf of GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd. and two for RWE Dea.

The scope of work for OIS, part of Acteon’s activity and resource management business, included the initial approval processes; formulating the contracting strategy; developing detailed procedures; procurement; appointing specialist service providers; overall logistics; and recycling and disposing of the recovered wellheads.

OIS conducted the two-phase abandonment operation from a chartered DP2-class anchor-handling tug supply vessel (AHTS). During phase one, a proprietary twin low-pressure packer tool from Acteon sister company Claxton Engineering Services Ltd. was deployed through the vessel’s moon pool to set cement plugs across all the casing annuli. The second phase involved abrasive severance of the wells using Claxton Engineering’s SABRE cutting tool.

“We have a strong track record in providing commercially efficient decommissioning solutions which are particularly important for non-revenue-generating assets,” said OIS vice president of commercial and business development Tom Selwood. “Multi-operator campaigns such as this, enable operators to share the associated costs which, when combined with the rigless nature of our offering, makes this the most cost-effective way to comply with UK oil and gas decommissioning legislation.”

Max Proctor, GDF SUEZ E&P UK drilling manager, added, “We are committed to fulfilling our responsibility to the environment as an operator and are leading the way in the North Sea with the decommissioning of redundant wells. We started this campaign immediately after the request came from DECC for operators to fully abandon suspended wells by reviewing the history of the wells and confirming the status of each with an independent well examiner. OIS is a valued partner of GDF SUEZ and the success of this project is testament to the team’s strong technical skills and experience.”

Since 1996, the OIS team has successfully completed more than 100 well decommissioning projects without a single lost-time incident.

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Scana to Supply Riser Forgings to Australia and North Sea

Scana Industrier ASA has through its subsidiary Scana Subsea, been awarded contract to deliver machined riser forgings to an undisclosed client.

The riser systems are intended for North Sea and Australia operations.

The initial contract value is 27 MSEK (USD 4.09 million). The contract contains additional optional work as machining, welding, assembly and testing,  which may increase the total contract value higher.

The projects are planned to start immediately and deliveries will commence in 3rd quarter 2013. The contract will also involve Scana Steel Björneborg, Scana Steel Söderfors and Scana Machining, in addition to Scana Subsea fronting the contract.

Scana to Supply Riser Forgings to Australia and North Sea| Offshore Energy Today.

Helix ESG’s T1200 Trencher Completes First North Sea Oil and Gas Project

Helix Energy Solutions Group’s new T1200 burial and trenching unit is quickly establishing a positive track record following the completion of an oil and gas project in the North Sea. The T1200 features a 1,200hp jet trenching spread, capable of burying product in water depths to 3,000m (10,000ft).

T1200 was deployed to bury a 14km long (8.7 mile), 10 inch export pipeline that included a 3 inch piggyback methanol line. The project specialization called for the line to be buried 2m (6.5ft) deep, with one meter of covering fill. The subsea trenching unit’s water jetting system trenched and simultaneously buried the pipeline under 1.4m (4.5ft) of sand in a continuous run that took just 48 hours.

The successful project is the T1200’s first oil and gas operation, and proves the versatility of the asset which has also been deployed to trench and bury high voltage undersea cables used to transport electricity from offshore wind farms to onshore power stations.

The T1200, operated by Helix ESG’s robotics subsidiary, Canyon Offshore, performed its first trenching job in early July 2012 at the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm trenching and burying an approximately 700m (2,300ft) long power cable between the wind turbines. Out of the 80 sections required in the field, the T1200 trenched and buried 37.

The T1200 was built in the UK by Forum Energy Technologies’ Perry Slingsby Systems ROV brand. The T1200’s design was based around the time proven T750 trencher( also owned and operated by Canyon Offshore) but has over 50 percent greater power and the capacity to trench larger diameter products (36 inches) to burial depths of 3m (10ft) depending on soil strength.

Subsea World News – Helix ESG’s T1200 Trencher Completes First North Sea Oil and Gas Project.

ExxonMobil Seeks ROV for Operations in Black Sea (Romania)

ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Limited Nassau (Bahamas) is seeking for diving services using a remotely operated vehicle for a drilling programme in the Black Sea.

The objective of the framework agreement is for ExxonMobil to be able to access the resources identified as necessary for the provision of services under the contract.

Minimum and maximum operating 380 – 1,309 days of operation with mobilisation and demobilisation days are included in the tender.

The project has a value between USD8 million and USD30 million with duration of 48 months.

ExxonMobil is expecting the tenders to be submitted until November 06, 2012.

Subsea World News – ExxonMobil Seeks ROV for Operations in Black Sea (Romania).

 

Baker Hughes Bringing High-End Well Stimulation Vessel to North Sea

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Baker Hughes Incorporated, announced that its subsidiary has chartered a new state-of-the-art pressure pumping vessel that will provide offshore stimulation services to Maersk Oil in the North Sea. Upon completion, scheduled for late 2013, the Blue Orca(TM) will become the eighth vessel in the Baker Hughes fleet.

“We are pleased to be working with Maersk Oil as we expand our current fleet into the North Sea,” said Art Soucy, Baker Hughes’ President of Global Products & Services. “Our full cadre of world-class stimulation vessels offers customers the capacity, performance and redundancy for round-the-clock operations that are needed in today’s offshore plays. We are committed to operating safely and efficiently while continuing to build on our pressure pumping market leadership and the challenging offshore environments where operators need us to be.”

The Blue Orca will be rated to 15,000 psi and will offer among the largest fluid and proppant carrying capacities in the world. It will provide 15,000 hydraulic horsepower pumping capacity and the ability to pump at rates well in excess of 60 bpm. Engineering work on the marine and stimulation systems has already begun.

“Stimulation of long horizontal wells is one of Maersk Oil’s key technologies and vital for economic development of our tight chalk reservoirs,” said Mary Van Domelen, Maersk Oil’s Stimulation Team Leader. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with Baker Hughes to deliver a new state-of-the-art stimulation vessel and look forward to welcoming the Blue Orca to the North Sea.”

The Blue Orca will join Baker Hughes’ other stimulation vessels – including the company’s newest additions to the Gulf of Mexico: Blue Tarpon and the Blue Dolphin. The vessels support offshore completion operations and will be equipped to support high-rate and high-volume multi-zone fracturing operations.

“Our pressure pumping vessels offer enhanced safety systems with redundant back-up blending and pumping capabilities,” said Lindsay Link, Baker Hughes’ President of Pressure Pumping.When it comes to performing multi-zone, high-rate, high-pressure completions, our vessels are reliable, efficient and minimize delays in high-cost offshore environments, where time is of the essence for the operators on behalf of whom we are working.”

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USA: Sub Sea Research Locates Port Nicholson Shipwreck

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Sub Sea Research LLC, a Portland Maine based company located the worlds richest shipwreck, a WWII British Freighter carrying a secret cargo of 71 tons of Platinum sunk by a German U-Boat off the coast of Cape Cod.

Sub Sea Research (SSR) spent months searching for the elusive ship, the Port Nicholson, torpedoed by German U-boat U87, June 1942. It took two torpedoes and about 7 hours to sink her. U-87 also fired at the troop ship the “Cherokee,” quickly sinking her with a heavy loss of lives.

The Port Nicholson is a steel-hulled, 481 ft. merchant ship, coal fired freighter built in 1918 at the Tynes & Wear shipyard. She was carrying two special envoy USSR agents overseeing the delivery of a very important Lend-Lease payment from the USSR to USA. She along with 4 other commercial vessels were being escorted by an unusually high number of military ships. The normal ratio at the time was near 1:10 or less but this convoy ratio was 6:5. Maybe it was the fact they were delivering 1,707,000 oz. troy, in 400 oz. bars of platinum. Strangely the two USSR special envoy individuals quickly disappeared after being rescued and brought to American shores. They were not de-briefed like all the other survivors were.

SSR first discovered the Port Nicholson in 600-800 feet of water off Cape Cod in 2008. In 2009 SSR obtained legal recognition from the US Courts as the legal owner and salvager of the ship.

SSR researchers corresponded with individuals manning the ships and even spoke with another U-boat captain who was in the same area. They have talked with survivors and relatives of the men of the Port Nicholson and the Cherokee. One Yarmouth, MA author has written a book and is waiting for “the last chapter” of raising the valuable cargo of the Port Nicholson. These researchers also found declassified documents verifying the cargo as well as the debriefing of the sinking.

According to SSR research, the Port Nicholson and four other ships were being escorted by six military ships in a convoy from Halifax to New York. The Port Nicholson is documented to be carrying ~1,707,000 troy ounces of platinum. It may also contain $165M of copper, zinc and war stores. Greg Brooks, one of two SSR founders, said his team has already recovered several identifying and critical artifacts. He has verified that “it is without a doubt the Port Nicholson”.

Late in the summer of 2011, after 100’s of hours of ROV video, they have seen what appear to be bullion boxes containing 4 bars, each being 400 troy ounces of precious metal. “We have seen boxes indicative of those used to store and ship this type of bullion in 1942. Our video clearly shows the box and our inspection class remotely operated vehicles (ROV) could not lift it due to its weight of about 130 lbs.”

A similar discovery occurred in 1981 when the HMS Edinburgh was discovered in the Barents Sea. It too carried a USSR Lend-lease payment. This wreck, in 800 feet of water, took almost three years to salvage in 1981 (Salvage of the Century) and contained $100M of gold (1981 prices). Richard Wharton, one of the original salvagers, provided SSR with photos and dimensions of the wooden boxes from the HMS Edinburg containing the gold bullion bars. These wooden bullion boxes were the same type shipped within six weeks of the Port Nicholson. According to Brooks, “We used our manipulator arm to scale our box dimensions. They appear close and almost exactly match the boxes salvaged in 1981. Mr. Wharton’s photos are almost identical to the boxes we have seen on our wreck. We nudged and pushed the boxes with maximum thrust from our ROV. We have verified these boxes have unusually high mass as one would expect for bullion. What is different from the Edinburgh boxes and unique to ours is that ours are very well preserved and do not easily come apart. Things are very well preserved. We even flipped the pages in a book and the pages remained intact. That was amazing to see.”

“We have been working and planning the site since 2009. Our current equipment is just not enough to handle the 2-5 knot currents, mostly zero visibility and the excessive ocean conditions at the site. It takes us 10 hours from Boston Harbor to get to the site. And, conditions such as these leave few and very small windows of onsite time each year in which we can safely work on the site. We certainly underestimated the conditions and maybe over estimated our capacity even with the 214 ft. M/S Sea Hunter and a 95 ft. ship M/S Son Worshipper fully equipped with a sub, ROVs, 125 ton crane, claw and sonar gear.

Photos taken from the HMCS Nanaimo at the time of the sinking show the Port Nicholson bow straight up in the air. She went down straight and slammed to the bottom vertically, stern first at about 30 mph and is now lying on her starboard side. This position, along with the numerous metal, wires, pipes, booms, debris as well as 70 years accumulation of fishing net snags makes access extremely difficult from the deck side. “The holds are not upright and we certainly are not simply going down into the holds with a lift and pulling up the cargo. We may have to cut into the hull to gain access and that is complicated and requires a different tool set. The ship carried war stores thus requiring even greater caution and safety procedures.”

“There is nothing more frustrating for each of our crew, as well as our financial supporters, to see, touch and feel the bullion box and not be able to quickly and simply retrieve it. There is nobody on this earth who wants to bring up that box more than me. We’ve been at it a while now.”

While the ship, M/S Sea Hunter is capable of remaining on-site in almost any weather, SSR has exhausted the capability of the ROV and support equipment. SSR is now entertaining private support from special technical and financial organizations. The operation needs to re-capitalize so that SSR can order or retain a heavy duty state of the art work class ROV, fully outfitted with the tool set to complete the salvage and bring a bar on deck. This specialized equipment costs about $2.5M, requires well trained support crews and is capable of lifting heavy loads and has a long build/lease lead time of up to 20 weeks.

“Many marine technology firms are very interested in helping and being part of such an exciting treasure salvage project right in Boston’s back yard. They want to share in this once in life time adventure. And, it has a rich local and national history with a high degree of intrigue.”

“We have spoken with some interesting individuals and some family investment groups who are bored with traditional opportunities. They are certainly tired of the significant swings and losses occurring in the market today. They are most intrigued with the unique sense of history and adventure the Port Nicholson treasure simply from the excitement factor.

“Who wouldn’t want to be a treasure hunter, have a real piece of history (1942 platinum) and be able to say ‘I am a real treasure hunter’. It is every kid’s dream to be a treasure hunter and some adults dream of it too!”

“All we have left to do is get the right equipment to bring up the bars we have seen. 2012 is our year to make this all come to fruition!”

Sub Sea Research LLC (SSR), a Maine company founded in 1994, maintains a fleet of ships and scientific exploration equipment to engage in research, conservation, development and exploration activities around the world aimed at finding, recovering or preserving underwater shipwrecks of special historical and cultural significance.

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BOEM: Conditional Approval for Shell’s Chukchi Sea Exploration Plan (USA)

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The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Friday, October 16, issued conditional approval of Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.’s revised Exploration Plan under leases in the Chukchi Sea Planning Area. In its Exploration Plan, Shell proposes drilling up to six exploration wells in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea beginning in the 2012 drilling season.

This decision follows the bureau’s completion of a site-specific Environmental Assessment that examined the potential environmental effects of the plan. The conditions of approval require Shell to comply with a range of important safety and environmental protection measures.

BOEM’s conditional approval does not authorize Shell to commence exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea. Shell must satisfy the conditions of BOEM’s approval, as well as obtain approvals from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) regarding its Oil Spill Response Plan and well-specific applications for permit to drill.

“Our scientists and subject matter experts have carefully scrutinized Shell’s proposed activities,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “We will continue to work closely with agencies across the federal government to ensure that Shell complies with the conditions we have imposed on its Exploration Plan and all other applicable safety, environmental protection and emergency response standards.”

Shell acquired its leases in the Chukchi Sea in 2008 under Lease Sale 193, which BOEM recently reaffirmed after completing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. All of these leases are subject to a series of stipulated requirements to mitigate operational and environmental risks, and the conditions for approval of Shell’s Exploration Plan build on and expand those requirements.

Among the conditions of approval is a measure designed to mitigate the risk of an end-of-season oil spill by requiring Shell to leave sufficient time to implement cap and containment operations as well as significant clean-up before the onset of sea ice, in the event of a loss of well control. Given current technology and weather forecasting capabilities, Shell must cease drilling into zones capable of flowing liquid hydrocarbons 38 days before the first-date of ice encroachment over the drill site. Based on a 5-year analysis of historic weather patterns, BOEM anticipates November 1 as the earliest anticipated date of ice encroachment. The 38-day period would also provide a window for the drilling of a relief well, should one be required.

Shell must also obtain necessary permits from other agencies — the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

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Brazil: Deep Sea Supply Takes Delivery of New PSV

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Deep Sea Supply, an international operator of offshore supply vessels has taken delivery of the newbuilding platform supply vessel (PSV), Sea Brazil, from STX OSV in Brazil.

A naming/launching ceremony was held on November 15 in STX OSV shipyard in Niteroi, Brazil.

The vessel is of STX 09 CD design, 87,9 meters long with ability to accommodate a crew of 26.

To see the vessel launching ceremony please follow the enclosed link.

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