A newly completed subsea vessel, Khankendi, will play a key role supporting installation of structures for the largest subsea production system ever installed in the Caspian
September 2017 saw Khankendi, the Shah Deniz consortium’s new flagship vessel, delivered by Baku Shipyard, a joint venture of SOCAR, the Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC) and Keppel O&M, in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Designed and built specifically to install the subsea production system for Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz project, the ship was built at a cost of US$378M and is due to be deployed to the Shah Deniz field shortly. Once there, it is due to work on the huge project for a total of 11 years.
Shah Deniz Stage 2 is a giant project that will add a further 16 billion cubic metres per annum (bcma) of gas production to the approximately 9 bcma produced by Shah Deniz Stage 1. Around US$28Bn in capital investment will be required to produce the gas from Stage 2 of Shah Deniz and transport it to the border between Georgia and Turkey. From there, additional pipeline systems will deliver it to Turkey and markets in Europe in a route known as the Southern Gas Corridor. Shah Deniz gas will thus travel 3,500 km, to elevations of over 2,500 m and more than 800 m below sea, from the field in the Caspian to the end user.
Located 90 km offshore Azerbaijan, Shah Deniz Stage 2 is also one of the largest gas developments in the world and will help increase European energy security by bringing Caspian gas resources to markets in Europe for the first time. It will involve a network of 26 subsea wellheads, flexible flowlines and umbilicals installed in deep water and tied in to a new shallow-water production complex incorporating two bridge-linked platforms. There will also be a pipeline linking these platforms to a gas treatment and compression facility at Sangachal.
May 2016 saw Saipem and its consortium partners Bos Shelf and Star Gulf awarded a call-off contract for the project under the Shah Deniz Stage 2 master agreement – a contract worth approximately US$1.5Bn, of which Saipem’s share is approximately US$1.3Bn. The scope of work referred to in the deal refers to the transport and installation of subsea production systems and subsea structures, laying of fibre-optic cables and production umbilicals, laying 90 km of pipelines, activation, crewing and operations management for Khankendi and diving and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) support and marine base management.
BP’s regional president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey (BP being operator of the Shah Deniz consortium) Gary Jones described the multifunction vessel as “another great milestone for Shah Deniz” and highlighted the fact that it was built locally, in the Caspian. “I would like to thank the Baku Shipyard and all other parties whose efforts have been key to delivering this unique vessel safely and efficiently,” he said.
The new vessel is 155 m in length with a beam of 32 m and 2,000 m2 of deck space. With a deadweight of 17,600 tonnes, it can transport 5,000 tonnes of equipment at 6.5 m draught.
With two enginerooms with six 4.4 MW and two 3.2 MW generators, the diesel-electric ship has class 3 dynamic positioning and will be capable of working in a 3.5 m significant wave height. Its main tool is a 900-tonne capacity subsea crane capable of lowering 750-tonne subsea structures to 600 m. The vessel also has an 18-person, twin-bell diving system, two work-class ROVs and a moonpool. The vessel has accommodation for 175 people on board.