Norway’s Solstad Offshore ASA reported a spate of new long-term charter agreements in the offshore oil and gas and renewable energy sectors for eight of its vessels, including a dual fuel platform supply vessel that will operate in Australia
Under a long-term charter agreement with Woodside, Solstad has been contracted to supply six vessels to support offshore drilling campaigns in Australia starting in December. The anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels Normand Saracen and Far Senator and platform supply vessels (PSVs) Normand Leader, Normand Skimmer, Normand Swan and Far Seeker will be contracted to Woodside for a combined firm period of 1,100 vessel-days. Woodside holds an option to extend the charter period by a combined total of 3,000 vessel-days.
The dual fuel-powered PSV Normand Leader will be mobilised from the North Sea to Australia and operate in LNG mode during its charter period on the North West Shelf supporting Woodside’s ‘Green Corridor Initiative.’
Under its Green Corridor Initiative, Woodside is working with the mining and shipping industries to further the potential of LNG as a marine fuel for bulk carriers trading between Australia and China, and the use of LNG in mining trucks. Woodside is also using LNG as a marine fuel for the vessels it charters.
In 2017, Woodside took delivery of Siem Thiima, its first LNG-fuelled PSV and first to operate in the southern hemisphere.
LNG has lower carbon emissions than heavy fuel oil and emits virtually almost no sulphur or particulate matter. At Gastech 2019 in Houston in September, Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said, “A recent ‘well-to-wake’ study showed that if iron ore carriers on the busy trade route from northern Australia to Asia switch to Woodside LNG, rather than heavy fuel oil, their greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by 33%.”
Australia is the world’s leading supplier of LNG, and Woodside produces about 6% of the global supply. Woodside opened a truck-loading facility at its Pluto LNG plant this year to supply LNG to help displace diesel in fuel-intensive mining operations in Australia’s remote Pilbara region.
Woodside is developing the Burrup LNG Hub on the Burrup Peninsula, which would draw gas resources from its Scarborough, Pluto and Browse fields to feed its existing onshore LNG facilities, Pluto LNG and Karratha Gas Plant.
In announcing the long-term charter agreement, Solstad said the awards are “unique in scale and volume and are testament to Woodside’s commitment to developing new ways of working to support their Burrup Hub vision.”
Solstad CEO Lars Peder Solstad called the contract, “an exciting collaboration” that supports both Woodside’s and Solstad’s low emissions strategies.
Preparations have already begun for the mobilisation campaign required to be completed ahead of offshore commencement later this year.
“Mobilising six vessels for a single campaign is something a vessel operator is rarely required to do, so our main focus is that we plan diligently and execute safely,” said Solstad Offshore Asia Pacific managing director Keith Soutar.
In addition to the six-vessel charter, Solstad inked a three-year contract with the UK’s Global Offshore, part of the Global Marine Group, for the charter of the construction support vessel Normand Clipper. The contract will commence in Q1 2020 and contains options for an additional five years.
Global Offshore will utilise Normand Clipper to support cable laying operations within the renewable energy and oil and gas sectors.
The charter of Normand Clipper follows in the wake of a new contract for AHTS BOS Turmalina, a UT 722L design vessel with 165-tonnes bollard pull, chartered by Enauta Energia SA in Brazil. The new contract for 1.5 years firm with options for another two years will commence in Q4 2019 continues the vessel’s current charter supporting production activities at the Atlanta Field in the Santos Basin.