Competitive Edge of a Monohull Deepwater Construction VesselWed, 01/25/2012 - 15:04
Shell’s deepwater Perdido project has not only taken deepwater technology to the next level, it also provided an opportunity for Heerema Marine Contractors to showcase the capabilities of two of the world’s largest semi- submersible crane vessels: Thialf and Balder. Equipped with dual cranes, the Thialf has a width of 88.4m and a heavy lift capacity of 14,200 tonnes. When loaded with its maximum deck load capacity of 12,000 tonnes, it has a transit speed of 6 knots at a draft of 12.5m. In mid-2012, when tests and trials are scheduled to be finished, the heavyweights in Heerema Marine Contractors’ fleet will be joined by the more agile monohull deepwater vessel Aegir.
Named after the Norse God of the Sea, the Aegir will be more narrow than most of Heerema’s vessels. This innovative vessel will be adapted to carry out complicated infrastructure and pipeline projects in deepwater, but will also be able to set up fixed platforms in shallower waters. Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. is building the vessel in Korea, and Heerema announced in July 2010 that the investment would be about US$600-700 million.
The Aegir will be built with a customized Ulstein Sea of Solutions SOC 5000 design, with a hull specially conceived to facilitate high transit speed, which is one of the vessel’s most important attributes. The new ship will be able to travel from one project location to the other at a quicker pace than the larger ships in the Heerema fleet, thus providing the company with more flexibility to start and complete complex deepwater pipe-laying or platform- installation projects in a shorter time period. As a result, the Aegir will reach it break-even point at a lower day rate
than most of its competitors, and compensate for this by having more days working than slower vessels in the same class. This particular feature is a great advantage for Heerema as it adds to the Aegir’s competitiveness in the global offshore construction and installation market.
Aegir will be fitted with a Class 3 dynamic positioning system. Also, the ship will include a heavy lift crane with a revolving lift capacity of 4,000 metric tonnes in a radius of 17m to 40m and a 1,500 metric tonnes capacity at a 78m radius. The ship is equipped with a pipelay tower adapted for J-Lay and Reeling and a deepwater lowering system capable of going as far as 3,500m water depth. Furthermore, with a total length of 210m and a width of 46.2m, it can navigate in a minimum water depth of 8m while in transit, and 9 to 11m while operating. Aegir will be able to shelter 289 persons, with a maximum capacity for 305 persons and lifesaving devices for 399 persons.
In January 2012, McDermott Australia awarded Heerema Marine Contractors a contract for the transport and installation of flowlines, moorings, as well as integrated pipeline and subsea structures for the INPEX Ichthys LNG project. Heerema Marine Contractors plans on using Aegir for this project, as it will need the employment of Aegir’s heavy lift, as well as its J-Lay and Reel-Lay aptitudes – two different methods for laying subsea pipelines. The contract signals to the shipbuilding community that companies are looking for technology like this for future projects, and the next few years will determine whether vessels like the Aegir will be used as niche tools or are setting new industry standards.