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Saipem and Topaz secure Caspian contracts

Tue 05 Jul 2016

Saipem and Topaz secure Caspian contracts
Khankendi is being built at Baku Shipyard for subsea construction work on Shah Deniz II

Vessel owners have secured a series of contracts and charters to support offshore projects in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. A Saipem-led consortium received another contract from BP for the Shah Deniz Stage 2 project. Saipem will be working with Bos Shelf and Star Gulf on a US$1.5 billion contract – one of the largest offshore orders to be awarded worldwide – for five years of work on Shah Deniz.

The consortium will be responsible for the transport and installation of subsea production systems and subsea structures and will be laying fibre-optic cables and production umbilicals as well as 90km of pipelines. The contract involves the crewing and operations management of newbuild subsea construction vessel (SCV) Khankendi. This vessel will be a base for diving support and ROV support after 2017. The 155m vessel was refloated into the Caspian Sea at the Baku Shipyard quay in mid-May and was being fully commissioned at the quayside.

Khankendi is scheduled to undertake subsea construction activities on the Shah Deniz field between 2017 and 2027. The US$378 million vessel is classed by DNV GL with dynamic positioning to allow working in 2.5m significant wave height. It has a 900-tonne main crane for subsea operations in water depths to 600m and an 18-person two-bell diving system. It will also have two work-class ROVs, a strengthened moonpool and a carrying capacity of 5,000 tonnes. Its two enginerooms will have six 4.4MW-rated engines and two 3.2MW generators.

BP has been lining up offshore support vessels (OSVs) to support Shah Deniz and its operations in the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli (ACG) projects in Azerbaijan. In the second quarter, it awarded contracts to Topaz Energy and Marine for the long-term charter of 14 OSVs. The agreement extends currently running contracts for the 14 vessels for five years and until 2023 if all the options are taken. It includes large anchor handlers, platform supply vessels and emergency response and recovery vessels. Topaz operates a fleet of 21 vessels in Azerbaijan. These contracts boosted Topaz’s global revenue backlog to around US$1.4 billion.

Topaz chief executive René Kofod-Olsen said the company’s safety track record and commitment to operating in Azerbaijan has allowed it to build a strong position in the country in a challenging market. “The agreement provides a long-term platform from which to build further scale in the broader Caspian and adds significantly to Topaz’s credit strength,” he said.

This strength was fortified in May when Topaz gained new vessel contracts in Kazakhstan. A consortium involving Topaz and Blue Water Shipping secured a US$350 million contract from the Tengizchevroil (TCO) joint venture in Kazakhstan. Within this order, Topaz will construct 15 newly designed module carrying vessels (MCVs). These will be used to transport modules and cargoes through the Russian waterways to the Tengiz oil field in Kazakhstan.

The 123m vessels were designed in collaboration with Vard group in order to navigate shallow river systems. They will be built in three Vard yards in Romania and Vietnam to enter service from the second quarter of 2018. Blue Water Shipping will manage the VARD 9 21-design MCVs during the lifetime of the project.

Following this contract award, Topaz ordered offshore equipment and winches from Palfinger Marine for the vessels. Each one will be equipped with electric and hydraulically driven winches, including frequency converters and high power units. The equipment will be delivered between January and November 2017.

In the Black Sea, GC Rieber Shipping subsidiary Dolphin Geophysical has shot a 3D seismic survey offshore Romania for a joint venture partnership led by Black Sea Oil & Gas. Survey vessel Polar Marquis towed a high resolution multistream array for the 3D shoot.

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