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Offshore Support Journal

Final Ramform surveyor will be a profitable powerhouse

Mon 11 Sep 2017

Final Ramform surveyor will be a profitable powerhouse
Ramform Hyperion is the final ship in PGS’s extensive newbuilding programme

The marine seismic market has been in the doldrums for the last two or three years but as the market recovers so PGS believes it has the best possible assets in its fleet to undertake larger and more complex next-generation surveys


Ramform Hyperion, the final ship in PGS's newbuild programme, was launched in March 2017 and, like the other Ramform ships the company operates, provides an enormously stable platform with outstanding seakeeping characteristics that is capable of taking full advantage of the company’s proprietary GeoStreamer technology.

Built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Japan, the vessel was delivered to PGS this summer. Able to undertake almost any type of seismic acquisition, the key to the Ramform ship’s productivity is its high level of installed power, capacity and redundancy, which are the keys to maximising seismic data production. Redundant twin enginerooms provide a total power of 26.4 megawatts to drive three 6,000 kW controllable pitch propellers. The vessel can tow a full spread of dual-sensor recording equipment using just two of them.

“Equipment failure is expensive, there is plenty of redundancy,” said PGS of the design of the new vessel. “Big boats burn more fuel but large efficient operations require fewer vessel hours to complete a project.

“On the Ramform Titan-class, a fuel-efficient acquisition speed of 5 knots can be maintained while towing multiple sources and 15 km2 of submerged recording and positioning equipment. Endurance in transit is 120 days and in full operation is up to 100 days. In remote locations, this can make an important difference to project safety margins and access to high quality, low-cost fuel. There is also less exposure to risk and fewer emissions.”

The Ramform Titan-class vessel has 24 streamer reels, 16 abreast with a further eight in a second row. This permits flexibility and efficient acquisition of high-volume exploration 3D or high-density 3D or 4D and anything in between.

The back deck layout is augmented by six independent source array handling booms. Together this arsenal of equipment enables faster deployment and recovery, with increased flexibility and safety, making it possible to fully utilise the ship’s operational weather window. Steerable sources and streamers, and automated gear-handling systems also contribute to the flexibility and effectiveness of this flagship vessel. Two stern-launched workboats permit safe streamer maintenance in marginal weather, and marine and seismic equipment maintenance can increasingly be carried out at sea without adversely affecting operations. The ship’s drydocking interval is 7.5 years.

Like the other Ramform ships PGS operates, Ramform Hyperion is based on the Ramform hullform created by Roar Ramde in the early 1990s and taken to its ultimate expression by the Ramform Titan-class vessels.

Ramform Hyperion completes our newbuild programme and increases the productivity of our fleet,” said PGS executive vice president of operations," Per Arild Reksnes. “The four Ramform Titan-class vessels and the two Ramform S-class vessels make up our core fleet of high-end units. They can tow more streamers than any other vessel and handle extremely wide streamer spreads. Hence, surveys can be tailor made to meet our customers’ needs, be it the highest possible data quality or the most efficient coverage of a large exploration area.

Ramform Hyperion, along with its sister vessel Ramform Tethys, are the most powerful seismic acquisition vessels in the world and merge advanced vessel design with the imaging capabilities of the company’s GeoStreamer seismic acquisition technology.

The 70 m broad stern allows ample space for the streamer reels, 16 of which are aligned abreast with the remaining eight further forward, with capacity for 12 km streamers on each reel. Increased work space and advanced equipment handling means safer and more robust operations. For PGS and its clients, safe, rapid deployment and retrieval of equipment as well as greater operational capacity will translate into faster completion of surveys and increased uptime in marginal weather.

After six years of construction and four completed vessels, the company is happy with its hand and has no plans to build more vessels in the foreseeable future. PGS's outgoing CEO and president Jon Erik Reinhardsen said the company only invests capital in newbuilds 'when differentiation can be achieved over a substantial part of the vessel’s useful life, in order to maximise return on the investment.'

“We believe Ramform Hyperion and the three other Ramform Titan-class vessels are examples of such unique assets,” he concluded.

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