Subsea Expo

Access. Connect. Grow.

Yard Wins Contract for ‘Floating Hotels’

30 May 2012

Offshore workers will walk on water after a South Tyneside yard won an order to convert two new vessels into "floating hotels”.

A&P Tyne, Hebburn, which has been awarded the contract by global oil and gas company Talisman Energy, will transform two subsea construction vessels into accommodation blocks for engineers on offshore oil platforms, allowing them to walk to work over choppy waters in the North Sea.

It is hoped the contract – the first awarded by Talisman – could trigger future orders for the borough yard.

The contract involves fitting steel decks, platforms and gangways to the Reef Despina and Reef Larissa, which will be anchored alongside rigs in the Montrose and Auk oil fields, more than 100 miles east of Aberdeen.

This will enable offshore staff to live on board and make the short walk across the gangways, over the waves, to the rig.

Production director Darren Brown said: "In simple terms, there will be a deck put on and a gangway installed, which will be used to get on and off the rig.

"The men will eat and sleep on the ship, then get up and walk to the workface.

"They’re like floating hotels, with up to 50 service engineers living on each.”

Talisman Energy, whose North Sea operations form a major part of its portfolio, has chartered the Chinese-built vessels from Reef Subsea, who recently contracted A&P to carry out a multi-million pound upgrade.

The upgrade included changes to the exhaust systems, accommodation areas and supporting the rebuild of the ROV (remotely operated vehicle) control centre.

The construction of the decks will involve 28 tonnes of steel, with a further 10 tonnes for the platforms and walkways.

A 50-strong team is working around-the-clock on each 98.6m long vessel, berthed at Bede Quay, and the contract should be completed in three weeks.

Mr Brown added: "Talisman naturally want the work completed as quickly as possible. Chartering these vessels is expensive, so it’s a very intense job.

"Talisman are a new client and this is a valuable order. It gives us the chance to prove ourselves to them and if they are happy with the quality, the safety and the cost, hopefully we’ll win repeat business.”

In addition to the Reef vessels, the yard has the 215m-long container ship, the Louds Island, in dry dock and the oil products tanker Seychelles Pride is berthed at the West Quay, awaiting a major overhaul of its engines, underwater propulsion system, sea valves and paint inspection.

The 38,104 deadweight-tonne Louds Island is undergoing a huge and complex paint job, involving the application of 6,000 litres of specialist paint to help the vessel slide through the water more quickly and easily, making substantial fuel and emission savings.

A&P sales and marketing manager Martin Robertson, added: "It’s gratifying to see both of our berths and the dry dock occupied after some recent wins.

"It’s especially pleasing to see the Reef Despina and Reef Larissa return, following the successful project we delivered on them earlier in the year.

"Overall, the yard has been busy in the first half of the year – in addition to the ship repair work we have also been working on a number of fabrication projects for clients in the oil and gas and renewables sectors.

"The challenge now is to ensure that the second half is just as busy.”