Major success for European maritime SME
With EU support under the FP5 CRAFT programme, Norway’s SeaMetric International AS has developed the ‘Twin Marine Lifter’ system for installation and removal of very heavy objects on offshore marine facilities.
SeaMetric is a small company focusing on cost-effective and safe marine services and operations in the offshore oil and gas industry. CEO Johan F. Andresen says his company’s new Twin Marine Lifter (TML) system is based on a novel way of combining existing technologies, including submersible heavy transport vessels with class 3 dynamic positioning systems. The capacity of the system, he explains, is an impressive 20 000 metric tonnes.
“A number of technical studies have now been performed confirming the feasibility and technical merits of our system,” says Andresen, ”which is well suited for the installation and removal of offshore platform topsides and jackets.” In addition, he says, TML can be used to install and remove subsea structures, and in salvage, dynamic positioning and inspection operations. And, when not in use as a heavy lift vessel, it can be transformed into two semi-submersible transport vessels.
With EU support, says Andresen, project partners undertook a range of activities, including environmental assessments, marine stability and motion analyses, hydrodynamic calculations, model testing and preparation of marine procedures. Test results have now demonstrated convincingly the functionality and versatility of the TML system.
The bottom line
“Our system has also been shown to be very competitive in terms of cost,” says Andresen, “and operation will be considerably more environmental friendly than traditional heavy lift systems and robust in harsh weather conditions.” With no remaining major technical or operational issues, Andresen says the industry now sees the TML system as a front-runner in its market.
“After some considerable effort, we have now secured financing of our Twin Marine Lifter system, and will start a world-wide marketing campaign to get the TML technology in operation by late 2009. We have signed a major contract with ESSCA in Hong Kong, in consortium with China Petroleum First Construction Corporation (CPFCC) and the JingJiang Nanyang shipyard near Shanghai, for the construction, assembly and testing of the first 20 000 tonne capacity TML system.”
CPFCC is a subsidiary of CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), the biggest oil company in China with about 1.4 million employees.
“This is a breakthrough for SeaMetric”, says Andresen. “We have negotiated a very good contract with a very strong and capable partner. We also have options in the contract for the construction of an additional TML heavy lift system and two 180-meter-long submersible heavy transport vessels. These vessels will be similar to those now being built, but with a 30 000 tonne capacity.”
EU Project Officer Peter Crawley has said, “The decision we made to support this highly innovative European SME looks to be paying off. This will be a clear success story. SeaMetric International is now set to become a key international player in the offshore heavy lift market.”