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Subsea projects dominate regional investment

Fri 13 Jan 2017 by Martyn Wingrove

Subsea projects dominate regional investment
Pioneering Spirit will be laying gas pipelines across the Black Sea from the second half of 2017

Allseas will install 900km of pipeline for the TurkStream project in the Black Sea, while Subsea 7 and Saipem will deploy subsea systems in Egypt

With significant investment going into the Black Sea, the region will be a main focus area for subsea operations in 2017. So will the Eastern Mediterranean after partners in the Leviathan gas field offshore Israel approved a development plan for a huge production and export project.

Offshore construction vessel owner Allseas has won a contract from South Stream Transport, an affiliate of Russian state-run gas giant Gazprom, to lay the first pipeline of the TurkStream offshore project in the Black Sea. This is a revision of the earlier failed South Stream project, which was planned to send Russian gas to Europe. TurkStream will have a similar route and objective but with a Turkish terminal.

Allseas said it would use the world’s largest construction vessel, the dynamic positioning Pioneering Spirit, to lay more than 900km of pipe on the seabed. It has an S-lay tension capacity of 2,000 tonnes, which means it can lay the heaviest pipelines in shallow to ultra-deep waters. The vessel is also equipped with a double-joint factory, six welding stations for double joints and six coating stations. Allseas said offshore construction work is due to commence in the second half of 2017. This means it will be searching for vessels for pipe-haul work and to support Pioneering Spirit.

In the Mediterranean, the Israeli partners in the Leviathan gas field approved a development plan that would involve installing subsea systems in 2017 and 2018. Leviathan is one of the world’s biggest offshore gas discoveries this decade and should supply Israel, Jordan and possibly Egypt and Turkey.

At the time of writing, the field operator, Noble Energy, was yet to formally make the final investment decision, but the Israeli partners had secured US$1.75 billion of financing from HSBC and JP Morgan. Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration had secured the funding for their part of the first phase of development. The plan involves subsea structures and pipelines that link multiple gas wells, located in deep waters, to a fixed offshore processing platform that would be installed in shallow waters. There will be other pipelines linking the platform to an onshore terminal in northern Israel.

Other subsea projects will be progressed in Egypt in 2017, including Eni’s Zohr development and BP’s Atoll field. Saipem is working on engineering and offshore construction for Zohr. In December 2016, Saipem contracted Farstad’s platform supply vessels (PSVs) Far Service and Far Supporter for six months’ work on the Zohr development. These will be supporting Saipem’s own fleet of subsea construction vessels, including deepwater pipelayer Castorone, semi-submersible pipelayer Castoro Sei and trenching/pipelay barge Castoro 10. They will be deploying subsea flowlines, pipelines and umbilicals throughout 2017.

Subsea 7 will be working on the Atoll project from the second half of 2017. The offshore installation and commissioning work will continue until nearly the end of the first quarter of 2018. Subsea 7 said it will use subsea construction and pipelay vessels Seven Borealis, Seven Eagle and Seven Arctic for the project. 

In Italy, vessel owner Marnavi has taken delivery of newbuild PSV Ievoli Cobalt, which was constructed by Selah Shipyard in Turkey. The 84m, 4,000 dwt vessel was built to an MMC 879L CD design. It has a deck area of 722m² and a moulded depth of 7.4m. Marnavi has a sister vessel on order from the Selah Shipyard. Ievoli Amber is scheduled to be delivered later in 2017.

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