Subsea Expo

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EB Prepares for Offshore Europe

28 August 2009

From multi-million pound complex design and fabrication tasks to trenching equipment; new integrated vessel R&D work to engineering support work, IHC Engineering Business (EB), and its parent company IHC Merwede, will have much to discuss with visitors at Offshore Europe 2009 (Stand 1154 - Aberdeen, 8-11 September).

Major projects such as the Jay-Lay Tower currently being constructed by EB have resulted in the company having an order book for innovative and large pieces of equipment to be delivered to the offshore oil and gas industry over the course of the next two years. The Jay-Lay Tower, now at fabrication stage, will be approximately 65m high with a large array of highly complex equipment installed on to it. Most of the additional equipment and control systems are now being produced in parallel to the tower at EB facilities and throughout the North East of England supply chain.

"From relatively small beginnings on the pipelay system sector of the industry, we have graduated to take on the design and fabrication of truly innovative and massive pieces of equipment which have seen us well-placed in these times of economic uncertainty," says EB's Managing Director, Dr Tony Trapp. "We look forward to sharing information on our expertise in this field with Offshore Europe visitors. We are actively looking for our next major project and have some interesting possibilities already lined up to allow us to continue to grow in both size and stature."

World leaders in trenching equipment

One of EB's unrivalled areas of expertise is in trenching equipment for both pipeline trenching and for cable laying. Recently they delivered two new pipeline trenching ploughs to Saipem UK Ltd. The main trenching plough was designed to bury pipelines up to 1550mm diameter up to 2.5m below the seabed, sustain a bollard pull of over 350T and maintain speeds of up to 3000m/hr where seabed conditions permit. The backfill plough was an all-new concept where all four of the main skids sit outside the trench. This EB-developed design enables the plough to run on undisturbed soil, thus increasing stability and reducing the risk of damage to the laid pipe. Recent trials confirmed the plough's ease of steering and stability, even at relatively high offset steering angles, and ability to backfill the 2.5m trench.

EB is also seeing growing order books and demanding project requirements for cable plough systems for use in the offshore wind and telecom sectors. A new plough, the Sea Stallion 433, has been designed for burial of power cables up to 3m in hard seabeds in one pass; and the Sea Stallion 3 which is now capable of working in 2000m of water, features EB's proven share design, which allows 3m burial in a wide range of conditions, whilst minimising residual tension in the installed cable.

Staying true to the EB ethos

When EB was established 12 years ago, providing first class customer support was a key goal. This has remained a priority as the company has grown and developed its expanding support contracts department in addition to providing clients with 24-hour assistance for spares, offshore support and technical advice, the company can assist customers with rapid upgrades, modification and refurbishment of subsea and offshore equipment whether it was originally designed by EB or another supplier.

As Sales and Operations Director, Toby Bailey explains: "Big is indeed beautiful, as our major pipelay equipment projects demonstrate, but our team still enjoys the smaller projects too. One currently being undertaken demonstrates this well. We are assisting with the transfer of a carousel from one vessel to another. This project offers a whole range of challenges involving people, time pressures, equipment, heavy lifts followed by an exacting testing process. No job is too challenging for us - our engineers thrive on it!"

Integrated solutions

EB and some of its sister companies within the IHC Merwede group are currently undertaking an R&D programme aimed at providing clients with integrated solutions for vessels and equipment spreads with enhanced capabilities. So far a number of separate concepts have been developed including an Arctic vessel, a turbine installation vessel, and an integrated offshore vessel with a novel skidding beam system to allow a wide range of offshore equipment to be rapidly mobilised or demobilised.