IN 2007, there were two key events that will help set the future pace of lightweight subsea well intervention – and both involve the Aker brand.
One was the creation of Aker Oilfield Services itself, plus the attendant block order with Aker Yards for purpose-built light intervention tonnage already referred to. The second was a five-plus-five years contract with Petrobras of Brazil based on two purpose-built subsea equipment support vessels (SESVs).
It was in March, 2007, that Aker, Aker Kvaerner, Aker Yards and DOF Subsea revealed that they had created a new company – Aker Oilfield Services – with ownership initially vested 75% to the Aker companies via an entity known as Aker Innovation and 25% to DOF Subsea.
The purpose of AOS – to offer turnkey subsea light well intervention services by means of both riserless and riser-based subsea well intervention systems in water depths to 2,500m.
At some future date, there is the possibility of offering light, medium and heavy well intervention techniques and light drilling technologies currently being developed at Aker Technology.
Further services to be provided from Aker Oilfield Services’ vessels in co-operation with DOF Subsea include cable/umbilical installation services, light subsea construction/maintenance and survey and inspection work.
The Norwegians have wasted no time now that they have the bit between their teeth. Simultaneous with the launch of AOS, the company signed a contract with Aker Yards for building four high-specification, ice-class well intervention vessels for delivery in 2010 and 2011, plus issuing options for a further two.
They will be Aker OSCV 06 WI class units – basically a derivative of the successful OSCV 06 workhorse, but adapted for well intervention purposes. Delivery of the first vessel is scheduled for spring 2010 and the following trio will be delivered with about six months’ interval.
Each will measure 157m loa, by 27m breadth, be equipped to class DP3 and be fitted with an active heave compensated crane, ROV, launching systems and a derrick for well intervention purposes. They will have a maximum speed of 18 knots, which is of significant importance for global operations in order to minimise mobilisation time.
It was in October, 2007, that news of the Petrobras-AOS deal broke. Energy’s readers need no reminding that Petrobras is the world leader in deep and ultra-deepwater development of oil&gas reserves, and the decision to link with AOS at this time is very significant. The contract is worth $350million to the Norwegian company over the first five years and is scheduled to kick-in in 2010, when the first vessel is scheduled for delivery.
The SESV concept was hatched by Petrobras and further developed by AOS for operations in up to 2,000m water depth, undertaking a broad range of services related to subsea equipment intervention – the kind of work traditionally performed by semi-subs. Tasks include handling, testing, retrieving and installing subsea Xmas trees and related equipment.
The first Petrobras SESV vessel, currently under construction, is based on the 120m Aker OSCV 03 design and has been chartered from DOF Subsea subsidiary DOFCON. Associated with the vessel orders, in August, 2007, Norwegian company ODIM was awarded a contract by AOS for a 125-tonne ODIM CTCU-system, which will be a part of the topside automated module handling system for the first of the Petrobras SESVs. Later, in November, ODIM secured a second contract covering an automated module handling system featuring a handling tower, moonpool hatches, cursors, skidding arrangement and control systems.