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ACE Winches Establishes New Division in Norway

09 September 2010

Scotland’s leading place in the offshore oil and gas industry has been reinforced with the announcement by ACE Winches of Aberdeen that it is establishing a new division in Dusavik, Norway to serve the Scandinavian market.

The firm specialises in the design, manufacture and hire of hydraulic winches and marine deck machinery and the supply of qualified personnel to operate such equipment.

As well as showcasing the company’s product range, its new operation, ACE Winches Norge, will provide spooling, equipment rental, and vessel bollard pull testing. Its site at Dusavik will include a 500-sq m (5,382-sq ft) workshop and a 1,000-sq m (10,764-sq ft) yard.

Derek Penny, ACE Winches head of Group Sales and Business Development, believes that this move into Scandinavia may not be the end of its expansion plans. To increase activity in the Gulf of Mexico, South America, the Middle East, Australia, and the Asia/Pacific region there’s the possibility of opening further bases in Houston, Dubai, Perth, and Singapore.

Notwithstanding the recent BP incident in the Gulf of Mexico, Derek Penny observes a trend toward more deepwater development. “We are seeing the market in oil and gas move towards ever increasing water depths of up to 4,000 m [13,123 ft],” he says. For those depths, winches must provide a very high level of reliability, he adds. “They must also be fast to deploy, because the time taken to descend to the sea floor and for retrieval to the surface can be substantial, with associated impact on vessel costs.”

“A great deal of technical effort is going into the winch control, in terms of active heave compensation. Other areas of development for ACE Winches are linear winches and tensioners.”

That work is undertaken at the firm’s manufacturing base at Turriff, Aberdeenshire, and a nearby hire and test facility near Banff. These provide full-scale manufacturing, refurbishment, and testing of winches. Banff has spooling capability and a test bed for proof load testing up to 750 metric tons (827 tons).

Recent offshore projects for ACE Winches include the deepwater construction vessel DCV Balder where Heerema Marine Contractors is deploying a package comprising three 30-mt (33-t) constant-tension winches powered by a 130 kW HPU. This combination serves to control loads of 150 mt-plus (165 t) suspended from the vessel’s cranes.

Meanwhile, Ferguson Modular has asked the company to design and manufacture four 100-mt (110-t) double-drum mooring winches and four 150 kW hydraulic power units for a new offshore accommodation vessel.