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Clough Helix Joint Venture Announced

09 February 2010

Australian engineering and construction company Clough Limited and US‐headquartered offshore energy services provider, Helix Energy Solutions Group today announced the formation of the Clough Helix Joint Venture. The Joint Venture will deliver subsea well intervention; subsea well abandonment; light construction; saturation diving and subsea inspection, repair and maintenance services to offshore operators in the Asia Pacific region.

The Clough Helix JV will integrate Helix’s innovative well intervention equipment with Clough’s new 12‐man saturation diving system, to enable both to be deployed from Clough’s 118 meter long DP2 multiservice vessel Normand Clough. The vessel also features a 250 tonne active heave compensated crane capable of operating in water depths up to 2,500 metres; a flexible flowline, riser and umbilical installation spread; a rigid pipelay system; and twin deepwater work class Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). Accommodation for 120 people is available in single and twin cabins, all built to the highest Clean/Comfort class.

This unique combination will make the Normand Clough the only vessel in the region capable of carrying out such a broad spread of offshore tasks without significant time spent in port for major reconfiguration.
“The geographic spread of the Asia Pacific region has made it a logistically expensive area in which to operate. In partnering with Helix we will provide a range of subsea services with the minimum of mobilisation, and provide a cost effective service for our customers” said Clough’s Chief Executive Officer, John Smith.

Owen Kratz, Helix’s President and Chief Operating Officer commented “Through our Well Ops division in Australia, and the subsea well intervention systems they have developed, we have established ourselves as the only company in the region with the complete spread of equipment required to carry out vessel based subsea well intervention. The relationship with Clough will enable the joint venture to offer a full range of subsea solutions to regional operators from a state of the art vessel built to the highest standards.”

The Normand Clough will relocate from the Gulf of Mexico to Singapore imminently to have the well intervention deployment system and saturation diving system installed. The vessel will be ready for work mid‐April 2010.

The specification of equipment on the vessel and available through the Clough Helix JV is impressive. The saturation diving system is brand new, certified to 300 metres and is inclusive of an integral air diving system and dedicated onboard gas storage. Through innovative engineering on the part of Clough Helix, the bell shares the vessel moonpool with the Vessel Deployment System (VDS), which deploys the subsea well intervention spread. The VDS is an active heave compensated system capable of deploying the Subsea Intervention Device (SID) in over 800 metres of water. SID itself is a
modular subsea lubricator that provides controlled access to subsea wells for various wireline activities and makes scheduled and emergency subsea well intervention immediately practical.

The two workclass ROVs are built into the vessel spread. These are Perry Slingsby Systems, Triton XLX‐150 HP rated to a depth of 3050m. The units are housed in the vessel’s inbuilt ROV Hangers, with LARS deployment over the vessel side via the tether management system. The ROV control system is built into the internal control room within the vessel accommodation.

The JV also boasts a Huisman designed reel hub drive system capable of supporting and driving the reels supplied by all leading flexible and umbilical manufacturers. The system is ideal for utilisation in various configurations onboard the Normand Clough and is complemented by a range of overboarding chutes and lay towers to suit a wide range of applications.

Installation of rigid pipelines to a maximum diameter of 6” in water depths up to 200 metres and at speeds up to 1200 metres per hour is also possible via a rigid pipelay spread. The system consists of a 35 tonne tensioner, aligner, straightener, clamp and exit rollers housed within a ramp structure which can elevate from 30 to 90 degrees to cope with variations in water depth and fleet +/‐3 metres to eliminate lateral bending of the pipe.

These core systems are supported by a range of proprietary tooling including the innovate AXE abrasive severance system for cutting multi‐string well casings; CIT – a single run perforating and annular cementing tool for well abandonment; and SSTD – a unique subsea top drive for recovering the internal tree cap and tubing hanger from horizontal subsea trees, something which would normally require a rig and tubing to surface.

Based in Perth, Western Australia, the Clough Helix Joint Venture will operate from Clough’s newly built offices, leveraging the engineering and project management resources of the two companies while benefiting from a combined market capitalisation of approx AU$3b and a collective workforce of around 5000 people.