The Ulstein Group in Norway has announced that it has won Teknisk Ukeblad’s 2005 Norwegian Engineering Feat of the Year award.
The Ulstein Group in Norway has announced that it has won Teknisk Ukeblad’s 2005 Norwegian Engineering Feat of the Year award.
“The Ulstein group places a great deal of emphasis on tearing itself away from traditional solutions and conventions. At the same time we have fully recognised that it is very important to build on the ship building experience we have acquired over generations. This means it is an extra feather in the cap for the design team at Ulstein Design AS that the readers of Teknisk Ukeblad have elected the Ulstein X-Bow hull design the 2005 Norwegian Engineering Feat of the Year,” said vice president Tore Ulstein.
The Norwegian Engineering Feat of the Year award is awarded to an engineering solution to a technical or social problem and that has local, national or international significance for society. The solution is intended to represent a good idea that has demonstrated commercial viability or socio-economic significance that has been carried out or finished during the period 2004-2005.
The nomination committee said the Ulstein X-Bow was a new hull design that resulted in increased comfort and safety, lower fuel consumption and increased speed. “As far as hulls are concerned a vessel with an Ulstein X-Bow is completely different to traditional vessels. The bow inclines backwards and the hull has been significantly raised, while at the same time it tolerates submersion,” senior hydrodynamics designer Øyvind Gjerde Kamsvåg explained.
Design manager Håvard Stave said: “Winning an award like this is very positive and is recognition of the design team’s work. This shows that it is possible to create exciting concepts even in little Ulsteinvik, Norway”. He added that many good projects were nominated and that he was humbled by the fact that the Ulstein X-Bow came out on top.
The Ulstein group has gained a great deal of attention and caused much debate in international circles with its Ulstein X-Bow. Vice president Market Erik Andreassen believes the Engineering Feat of the Year award will help sell more vessels that incorporate the Ulstein X-Bow. “This reinforces our certainty that what we are doing is right and we are now able to say, with even greater confidence, that the solution has been acknowledged by experts and lay people alike,” he said.
The 2005 Engineering Feat of the Year award was presented at a seminar at Norway’s National Technical University in Trondheim on 3 January.
UKOOA bemoans supplementary corporation tax
The UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA), the representative organisation for oil and gas producers in the UK, says it is shocked by the chancellor of the exchequer’s decision to impose a 20 per cent ‘supplementary corporation tax’ rate on UK oil and gas producers, which will raise the rate at which the industry pays corporation tax to 50 per cent.
“This will take an extra £6.5 billion out of the industry over the next three years when the Treasury will already reap £11 billion in tax revenues from North Sea producers this year, double the amount paid last year, and treble the amount forecast two years ago,” the UKOAA said in a statement. In contrast, the extension of the ‘exploration expenditure supplement’ will cost the Treasury barely £5 million.
Malcolm Webb, UKOOA’s chief executive, said: “Seventy-four per cent of our primary energy supply comes from oil and gas. It is hugely important that we maximise UK oil and gas production and I am staggered that the chancellor, who speaks of the need for stability and long-term investment, should take this action. It is almost beyond comprehension that the Government has failed to grasp the vulnerability of the industry’s future in the UK. His move could not come at a worse time. North Sea activity has recovered remarkably since 2002 when it was last hit by a punitive tax change. Investment, exploration and new field development in the North Sea are now reaching levels last seen around a decade ago.
“It is extraordinary that the Government has not appeared to have learned from past experience, and its failure to do so will cost this country heavily in terms of jobs, inward investment, balance of trade, security of supply and ultimately tax revenues. It will deter investment in new fields and make older fields less attractive for increased recovery. Moreover, the impact will be felt significantly by smaller oil and gas producers. Loss of investment will lead directly to the permanent loss of reserves and a swifter onset of decommissioning,” Mr Webb said.
“The unexpected tax hit on the industry in 2002 led to a major slump in investor confidence in the North Sea. Exploration and development activity fell to record lows as investment left the North Sea for other less challenging parts of the globe with lower costs. At a single stroke, the Treasury has rewritten the industry’s future. It will severely undermine business confidence in the UKCS. This has been done not once, but twice in the space of just three years and we fear that this time, the North Sea will not be
“Industry efforts are currently focussed on postponing the decommissioning of North Sea platforms and pipelines so that the infrastructure can be used to maximise recovery of existing reserves and to reach new discoveries. This requires major investment. The chancellor’s announcement cannot have anything other than a seriously corrosive effect on the UK’s prospects for long-term investment, the jobs which that investment supports and the level of UK security of supply. The chancellor’s move has pre-empted the Energy Policy Review and will distort its outcome,” the UKOOA’s chief executive concluded.
Saipem wins several offshore contracts
Saipem has been awarded several new contracts, representing US$550 million worth of business in the offshore construction segments in Angola, Mexico, and Thailand.
The offshore construction work includes a lump sum turn-key contract for the Marimba field development in Block 15, approximately 150km west of Soyo, offshore Angola, which will tie back to the existing facilities at Kizomba A. The contract, awarded by Esso Exploration Angola (Block15) Limited, involves engineering, procurement, construction and installation of subsea lines in a water depth of approximately 1,200m. The work will be carried out by Saibos FDS and Saipem 3000.
The second offshore contract was awarded by Mexico’s national oil company, Pemex Exploracion y Produccion, and calls for the offshore transport and installation of six platforms relating to the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field complex development in the Bay of Campeche, 105km north-west of Ciudad del Carmen. Saipem 7000 vessel will carry out the transportation and installation activities in the second half of 2006.
Thai Oil has also awarded Saipem the contract to provide unloading facilities to supply oil to a refinery in Sri Racha in the Gulf of Siam, approximately 200km southeast of Bangkok.
The work encompasses the design, procurement, fabrication, installation and pre-commissioning of an unloading Single Point Mooring buoy that will accommodate tankers along with a 52in pipeline and relevant land receiving facilities.
Castoro Otto will carry out offshore laying activities. Project completion is expected in summer 2007.
Ezra in deal to strengthen offshore support business
Singapore-based support vessel operator Ezra Holdings Limited has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary HCM Logistics Limited has concluded a sale and purchase agreement to acquire a 30 per cent stake in Uni-Bulk Holdings Pte Ltd from Eastern Bulk Limited for S$14.4 million (US$8.8 million). Uni-Bulk is a marine support company specialising in the provision of marine solutions such as the planning, management and transportation of high value pre-assembled modules and semi-assembled modules for oil and gas projects, mainly in the Asia Pacific region.
This latest deal is hot on the heels of Ezra’s recent acquisition of Asian Technical Maritime Services Limited which owns a fully operational logistics and training base with water frontage in Vietnam.
“The two businesses are complementary and offer good synergies as Uni-Bulk will be able to tap HCM Logistics’ support base in Vietnam. The deal enhances Ezra’s position as a leading services provider of offshore support services in the region,” said Lionel Lee, Ezra’s managing director.
In November, Ezra Holdings’ board of directors announced that Ezra had entered into a 50-50 joint venture with KS Energy Services Limited in respect of a 25 per cent interest in KSES (USA) Inc (held through a subsidiary of KS Energy), a company operating offshore related assets to provide marine and offshore services to support the offshore drilling operations of international oil majors in North America. The joint venture will enable Ezra to establish a presence in North America and expand its operations geographically to North America, including rig and liftboat operations.
ODIM-Hydrakraft deal referred to competition authority
The Competition Authority in Norway has advised ODIM that it plans to investigate its intended acquisition of Hydrakraft. At the end of November, ODIM said it was working on a reply to the Competition Authority, and assessed the risk of the authority stopping the deal as “small.”
ODIM submitted a complete notification to the Competition Authority on October 21st 2005, and said it expected a reasoned decision by the Competition Authority in 70 days, although no decision had been made at the time of writing.
Key milestone for Eidesvik and Omak Maritime
Eidesvik Subsea has confirmed that the Eidesvik vessel Viking Forcados has arrived offshore West Africa and is currently at Port Onne in Nigeria preparing for its first IMR job on a project on behalf of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). “The start up on this SPDC contract is a big milestone for both Omak Maritime and Eidesvik Subsea AS,” said the company. Riise Underwater Engineering AS, which will deliver diving services on board the vessel, recently installed a high specification diving system on board.
Personnel from Eidesvik Subsea, Omak Maritime and Riise Underwater Engineering will work on the project organisation as an integrated team. The project manager will be Lars Alvastad from Omak Maritime.
• More recently, the board of directors of Eidesvik Offshore announced that they had appointed Jan Fredrik Meling as managing director and CEO of the consolidated Eidesvik Offshore ASA group. Mr Meling is 48 years old and from Haugesund in Norway, and was chief financial officer and later managing director of Stolt Nielsen Seaway from 1988 to 1994. From 1995 to 2004 he was employed by Hydro Aluminium in Switzerland, and more recently was CEO of Biomar AS in Denmark. Jan Lodden becomes deputy managing director and chief operating officer (COO) of the Eidesvik group, responsible for marine operations.
Nautical Institute to host seminar on marine support to the offshore oil industry
The Nautical Institute is holding a seminar entitled ‘Marine Support to the Offshore Oil Industry’ on 27 April in Aberdeen, Scotland. The event concentrates on marine activities in the immediate vicinity of offshore installations, and comprises five sessions of papers and discussion on the following topics:
• the 500m safety zone – what good is it?
• the responsibility for accident investigation in the safety zone.
• ERRV operations.
• the 2006 guidance for the operation of
• attendant vessel collisions and means of reducing them.
There will be speakers from classification societies, regulatory bodies, maritime trades unions, oil companies and shipowners, plus panel discussion, on each topic. The institute says anyone professionally involved in the operation of vessels supporting the offshore industry should attend.
Further details: www.nautinst.org
Aker Kvaerner and Sonsub join forces
Aker Kvaerner company Aker Marine Contractors and Aberdeen-based Sonsub Ltd have signed a three-year cooperation agreement to jointly seek project opportunities in the field of subsea construction and removal. The agreement will allow the companies to optimise the use of their respective resources and assets.
Both parties will provide services, vessels and equipment to support joint projects. North Sea projects will be the initial focus of the agreement; however the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa will provide some of the best opportunities for the application of the two companies’ joint offering.
Under the agreement, Aker Marine Contractors and Sonsub will jointly identify projects where their resources, know-how and innovative technologies can be combined. Aker Marine Contractors and Sonsub will bring different areas of service and equipment to the agreement. Among the key resources to be shared is an extensive and highly advanced fleet of vessels – including Boa Deep C, Boa Deep C II and Normand Cutter – and a comprehensive array of subsea construction equipment.
No slowdown in drilling market before 2009, says report
With many operators becoming increasingly concerned with long-term rig availability and world oil consumption continuing to grow at a dramatic rate, the offshore drilling market is forecast to continue to grow at least until 2009, according to the new edition of ODS-Petrodata’s World rig forecast – long term trends. The report projects increased backlog in all six of the world’s major rig markets, with floating rig demand expected to increase by more than 40 per cent in the African region over the next five years, and a potential under supply of jack-ups developing in the Asia Pacific region in the near term.
World rig forecast – long term trends also forecasts a continuing increase in offshore rig day rates through the first quarter of 2006 in most offshore drilling markets, followed by a period of stability.
According to report editor and ODS-Petrodata senior consultant Tom Kellock: “Although the rig market has, in the past, been notoriously cyclical, it is difficult to see any reason for rig demand to decline in the next few years, other than a massive decline in the price of oil, although rising day rates will to some extent limit its growth. The number of recent orders for new premium jack-ups, although still small compared to the size of the jack-up fleet, will also have a dampening effect on day rates at the top end of this segment of the market.”
GEO ASA acquires Century Subsea
GEO ASA has also entered into an agreement to acquire Century Subsea Ltd for approximately US$12.8 million. Century Subsea is a leading supplier of services to the offshore construction market with 90 employees and head office in Aberdeen, as well as offices in Houston and St John’s in Canada. Expected turnover in 2005 for Century is about US$11 million.
IMCA publishes skills survey results
The marine contracting industry is not in a recruitment crisis, but there are some worrying trends in the diving sector, according to a skills survey undertaken by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA).
The survey was designed to answer the suggestion currently being put forward by some within the offshore marine and underwater engineering industry that, as the industry advances, the number of skilled people being relied upon to undertake key roles is not keeping pace with the changing face of the industry.
“The last few years have been challenging for IMCA members, in a tough contracting climate, with increased emphasis on safety, not to mention the changing pattern of work that financial and technological advances have brought about,” explained IMCA’s chief executive, Hugh Williams. “If we are serious about continuing to develop our industry, we need to plan for the future and assess the global requirements of IMCA members to ensure that we have sufficient personnel resources to meet demand in the years ahead.
“With this in mind, we commissioned a skills audit to identify the actual position from a cross-section of contractors representing IMCA membership. The questionnaire process started in late 2003. However, to be able to write a representative report, responses to the questionnaire were still being processed in May 2005. Our ‘snapshot’ of the market therefore covers about 18 months, and in that period changes in activity levels were already occurring. Now, the industry is extremely busy worldwide and many members are seeing skills shortages that were not predicted by the questionnaire respondents in their 2- and 5-year forecasts.”
This rapid and unpredicted change comes about through the combined effects of:
• the current high oil price
• high demand for oil (growth in economies such as China)
• Middle East politics
• hurricanes such as Ivan and Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Some of these effects are not new, but the sudden increase in offshore activity to the current levels was not well forecast by anyone, and the market cannot respond rapidly to provide human and equipment capacity overnight,” Mr Williams said. IMCA’s conclusions are that the difficulties in recruiting diving personnel, coupled with problems of staff retention, appear to suggest that companies are chasing a shrinking pool of trained staff.
However, the recent workload does indicate severe strain on personnel availability in most disciplines – the respondents agreed that there would be an expansion in the workload (and workforce) in all disciplines, but not to the extent that has happened.
“There were some interesting general results,” Hugh Williams said. “We learned that most companies (and here we are primarily talking of employers based or operating mainly within Europe) use graduate/apprenticeship staff engagement and training schemes and multi-skilling to help their employment regimes. The boom/bust cycle has caused problems for the industry as a whole, but especially for the diving and ROV industry. Staff retention is a problem for the diving sector."
DeepOcean reaches agreement with Rovtech
Deepocean ASA in Norway and Rovtech Ltd have announced that they have, through mediation in London, settled their dispute in relation to a Mexican ROV contract, about which, the companies claim, there have been some inaccurate press reports. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
SES to supply diesel-electric system for new seismic ship
Bergen, Norway-based Scandinavian Electric Systems (SES) has secured a contract for delivery of a 16,800kVA diesel-electric system for the new seismic vessel ordered by E Forland in Norway in December. SES said the order is worth around NKr30 million (US$4.5 million), and encompases the complete diesel-electric propulsion system, with ‘Active Front End’ (AFE) frequency converters.
The order comprises design, engineering, production, testing, delivery and commissioning of four generators, main and emergency switchboards, AFE type frequency drives, two electrical main propulsion motors of 4,200kW each, and two thrusters of 1,500kW and 1,200kW.
The main and emergency switchboards will be supplied by the company’s subsidiary, SES Austevoll AS. Also included in the total package is a ship automation system from Kongsberg Maritime.
SES said this is one of the largest low-voltage diesel-electric systems ever built. The company currently has an orderbook of diesel-electric systems for 12 ships with nine options. OSJ