Despite an oil price that has plunged over the last several months and a global economy that is, at best, unpredictable, the construction vessel market has remained active, although it is slowing. Both the number of working vessels and the amount of newbuild activity are down somewhat, a trend that could persist.
The number of working derrick/pipelay vessels at the end of November stands at 37, a decline since October. The global fleet tracked by ODS-Petrodata consists of 47 derrick/pipelay vessels at present. Demand for derrick barges dipped slightly in November and now stands at 35, with supply remaining stable at 41.
Demand for pipelay vessels has declined, with 33 of 42 vessels working this month. Nine pipelay/bury vessels were working at the end of November, down by one from the 10 reported working in September and October. A total of 12 vessels are in the fleet as 2008 draws to a close.
Reflecting the current market uncertainties is Acergy's expected move to stack its semisubmersible pipelay vessel Acergy Piper to reduce costs.
The steel cutting ceremony on COOEC's new 4,000-tonne (4,400-ton) heavy-lift deepwater construction vessel was held at Jiangsu Rongsheng shipyard in Nantong, Jiangsu Province, in September.
The derrick pipelay vessel, which will be named Hai Yang Shi You 201, will boast a capacity of laying up to 3.1 miles (5 km) of pipelines a day in addition to a heavy-lift capacity of 4,400 tons (4,000 tonnes). The vessel will also be able to operate in up to 9,843 feet (3,000 m) of water.
Engineering work on the vessel first began in the second quarter of this year. Delivery is now scheduled for the first half of 2010.
Clough christened its new subsea construction vessel Rem Clough on Nov. 1 at the Aker Kleven yard in Ulsteinvik, Norway. The new purpose-built, dynamically positioned subsea construction vessel is capable of working on subsea structures to a depth of 8,202 feet (2,500 m) and has a large lifting capacity. It is equipped with two 150-hp, 9,843-foot (3,000-m) water-depth-rated work class remotely operated vehicles and has 4,265 square feet (1,300 sq m) of deck space. The vessel can also be fitted with a newly built 12-man saturation diving system for construction work in shallower depths.
The vessel is committed for the first 12 months with two six-month options for subsea construction work in the Gulf of Mexico. The US$38 million contract for the Rem Clough is with Wild Well Control Inc., a subsidiary of Superior Energy Services Inc., to provide subsea intervention services for offshore platform decommissioning and subsea construction work.
Norwegian offshore service company Master Marine was awarded a contract by ConocoPhillips for its construction vessel Service Jack 1. Service Jack 1 is currently under construction at Drydocks World in Indonesia, and is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2010.
Service Jack 1 has been contracted as a jackup accommodation unit for use at the Ekofisk Renewal project off Norway. The contract is for a fixed three-year charter, with the option for two additional 12 month extensions. Two large cranes will be replaced with a smaller crane. The modifications will cost €65 million (US$83.7 million), bringing the cost of the project to €265 million (US$341 million).
Marine Master has another construction vessel, Service Jack 2, under construction at Drydocks that is due to be delivered in the third quarter of 2010. The Service Jack 2 is designed with the capacity of performing topside and jacket installations by tandem lift or single lift topside installations by skidding.
In Brazil, Petrobras awarded Saipem a contract for the Uruguà-Mexilhão pipeline. Saipem will transport, install and test an 18-inch, 108-mile (174-km) long gas pipeline in the Santos Basin, offshore Brazil. The pipeline will link the floating production, storage and offloading vessel Cidade de Santos, located in the Exploratory Block BS-500 at Uruguá field, in 4,501 feet (1,372 m) of water, to the Mexilhão gas platform in the Mexilhão field in 564 feet (172 m) water depth. Project activities are scheduled to finish by the end of March 2010.
In Venezuela, PDVSA Gas S.A. awarded Saipem the contract for the Dragon - CIGMA pipeline in the Mariscal Sucre complex offshore northeast Venezuela. Saipem will transport and install a 71-mile (115-km), 36-inch gas export line connecting a platform located in the Dragon field to PDVSA's CIGMA complex on the southern side of the Paria peninsula, in the state of Sucre. Marine activities will be carried out by the Semac pipelay vessel and are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2009.
Global Industries Ltd. was awarded a US$46 million contract from Mexican state oil company Pemex for pipeline work in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field in Mexico's Bay of Campeche. The project will begin in March 2009 and be completed by the end of July. Global will utilize construction vessel Shawnee as the main vessel on the project, with other vessels assisting.
Global will install two pipelines at a depth of around 300 feet (92 m). One 24-inch by 1.3-mile (2.1-km) pipeline will run from the Maloob-C platform to the PP-Ku-H platform, while another 12-inch by 0.3-mile (0.5-km) pipeline will run from a subsea connection to the PP-Maloob-C platform. The project includes pipeline crossings, risers, and expansion curves.
Global Industries Offshore LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Industries Ltd., was awarded a US$57 million contract by Petrobras to lay pipe in the Mexilhão field in the Santos Basin off the Brazilian state of São Paulo.
The scope of work includes laying 14 miles (22 km) of 34-inch pipeline, scheduled to commence within the next two weeks. The project will be performed by Global derrick lay barge Iroquois. The contract follows Iroquois' work on Petrobras' Camarupim project.
The complete project scope will allow the export of the gas produced in Mexilhão platform, which sits some 81 miles (130 km) from São Sebastião port, to the Unit of Treatment of Gas Monteiro Lobato, in Caraguatatuba. The project is part of Petrobras' Plangas, which aims to triple the production growth of natural gas in the country, making Brazil self sufficient in natural gas.
Technip will lay a subsea pipeline that will export gas from the Babbage platform in the Southern UK North Sea. Technip bagged the €32 million (US$44 million) contract from E.ON Ruhrgas UK.
The pipeline will be 17 miles (28 km) long and tied to a 40-ton (36-tonne) manifold and three flexible tie-in jumpers. Installation should begin in the second quarter of 2009 using two vessels from Technip's fleet, pipelay vessel Apache and subsea construction vessel Orelia, with third party vessels.
Petrobras awarded Technip a day rate contract worth over US$100 million for a two-year charter of pipelay vessel Normand Progress. The contract includes engineering and support services, as well as an additional two-year option.
Normand Progress will be used for the installation and retrieval of flexible pipelines offshore Brazil, at water depths reaching up to 6,561 feet (2,000 m).