StatoilHydro has thrown down the gauntlet to other oil companies by making the largest ever commitment to environmentally responsible offshore support vessels.
The Norwegian group has awarded long-term contracts for four new supply vessels for use offshore Norway that employ a new technology that reduces emissions into the atmosphere. The contracts will be worth some £300million over their lifetime, with vessel deliveries scheduled to begin this year and run through to 2011.
Two of the vessels – they will be Ulstein X-bow units – will be delivered by Remoy Shipping and the other pair by Farstad Shipping and DOF Management.
Three of the four will feature diesel-electric main machinery with an exhaust system catalyst designed to reduce the emissions of NOx by about 90% compared with ordinary diesel vessels. The fourth will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), so cutting emissions of CO by a claimed 20% or so. This will be StatoilHydro’s fourth contract for an LNG-fuelled OSV.
StatoilHydro is so far the only company in the world that uses gas vessels for offshore operations.
“We are pleased that this award allows us to combine our ambition of running our offshore supply operations in a safe and effective manner at the same time as we employ new technology that reduces the environmental impact,” said Torstein Hole, head of operations development for the Norwegian group.
The vessels from Remoy Shipping will sail for StatoilHydro for eight years, with an option for another four years. The vessels from DOF Management and Farstad Shipping will go on contract for five years, with a corresponding option period. StatoilHydro has also signed a contract for the Volstad Princess on a three-year contract with two annual options.
Meanwhile, Fugro has signed an agreement with German ship designer and builder, Fr Fassmer GMBH & Co of Bremen, for the design and construction of a 65m geophysical survey vessel. It will be named the MV Fugro Searcher and be managed out of Aberdeen.
Diesel-electric drive, specially designed hull form, resilient engine mounts and rudder propellers will help maximise station keeping and navigational control, while ensuring acoustically quiet running at survey speeds. The design of the vessel will permit simultaneous analogue/digital survey operations and AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) operations. Geotechnical and remotely operated vehicle survey duties will also be possible.
The vessel will be fully networked to provide full plug-and-play interconnectivity and have Fugro’s dual DGPS high precision Navigation systems.