Martin Kobiela
InterMoor Inc.
View from the Top

Sound of Success in Sonic Quick-Release Mooring Connectors

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 17:43

Q: Why would operators choose InterMoor for their mooring services?

A: We have a great deal of history and a very strong track record in the Gulf of Mexico that covers rig moves as well as permanent production facilities. Our solid international experience in the North Sea, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, West Africa, Brazil and Australia also adds to our expertise. Continuously improving our services through innovative technology is a strong priority at InterMoor and our Inter-M Release is a testament to this. The Inter-M Release is an acoustic mooring connector that provides quick-disconnect capabilities for an entire rig system, saving days in time and associated costs. Rather than spending days freeing a rig, InterMoor can do it in hours. Other acoustic mooring connectors exist and were originally devised so that rigs could move away from oncoming typhoons, hurricanes or icebergs. But we have revised and significantly updated the design and the Inter-M Release is now around a quarter of the size and around a third of the weight of previous generation quick-disconnects. With this new technology, we can even make processes simpler, quicker and safer to support drilling operations.

Q: Where is InterMoor focusing its efforts in Mexico?

A: With so many companies turning to Mexico, we expect the country to be very active in the next few years. The opportunities are plentiful and PEMEX is an obvious attraction. At the moment our focus is on drilling. InterMoor is supporting one rig in Mexican waters but we expect to be supporting two by the end of 2019. We are working with Talos Energy and are lined up to also work for drilling contractor Ensco, which will be drilling on behalf of Italian operator Eni. InterMoor’s intention is to become more involved with production in the next few years, with an entrance point probably coming from Talos Energy, which is already looking at an FSO solution development in its field. We feel that with our experience in installations, moorings and risers for permanent installations, we would be a good fit there.

Q: The Inter-M Release technology is new. How do you convince clients and rig operators to employ your services?

A: The first step is to demonstrate that we have our DNV or ABS approvals and ensure the system we are putting in place is fit for the purpose. We then speak to operators and receive permission to put the system on their rig. The next step is to speak to the drilling contractor and explain the value of our technology. Both parties need to be approached when we introduce our technology. Companies understand how we can help them but the introduction of a new technology is often a race to second place: each party likes the idea but wants someone else to try it first. We worked with Talos during their first campaign, which included the successful discovery at Zama, and our flawless execution gave them the confidence to continue to use InterMoor as the company’s mooring expert. This is a huge boon to us. InterMoor is an absolute expert in its field. Our technology has undergone years of R&D and lots of tests under operational scenarios before we went into the open sea. Our differentiator is the intelligent design of the equipment. Whereas most acoustic systems have a central unit that must send out signals to individual connectors on the mooring legs, our system’s units communicate with each other in a network. In the event of a communication issue between the rig and one of the connectors, other connectors take over to relay, ensuring the availability of the whole system and significantly reducing the likelihood of failure.

Q: How quickly can InterMoor manufacture its rig systems?

A: We can produce a batch of acoustic mooring connectors every two months. Each batch includes nine units, which is enough for one rig. The investment in each batch is substantial, with materials accounting for most of the cost. A 6-inch solid bar must be heat-treated to reach suitable strength and grade to match the standard used for mooring chains by drilling rigs.

InterMoor Inc. offers comprehensive mooring solutions for every marine environment. As the global leader of offshore mooring systems and subsea foundations, InterMoor has offices on all five continents.