Gas projects in Egypt are sustaining the offshore support vessel market in the Mediterranean. There has been no let-up in gas developments as energy majors continue to invest in the country to develop large deepwater gas reserves. Subsea 7 was the latest winner from these gas projects. BP awarded a contract to Subsea 7 covering subsea installations on the Giza, Fayoum and Raven fields in the West Nile Delta block offshore Alexandria.
The work scope includes installing subsea infrastructure for 12 wells over the three fields, 220km of pipelines and 80km of umbilicals. The contract also includes installation of the export pipelines from the subsea centres to the Idku terminal. Offshore installation is scheduled to be undertaken in two stages. The first is due to begin in 2017. It will involve installation of pipelines to the terminal in shallow water. The second stage will comprise the deepwater pipelines, flowlines and umbilicals in 2018. Seven Borealis and Seven Antares will be used for the pipelay, while heavy construction vessel Normand Oceanic will be employed for other construction activities.
Eni also made progress with its Zohr project in Egypt. The Italian group gained government approval for the Zohr development lease, which enables Eni to progress with the project in the Shorouk concession. It plans to commence an early production project, using contractors Petrojet, Enppi and Saipem, to begin in the fourth quarter of 2017 and install more systems in 2018 and 2019. Eni recently drilled a successful appraisal well on the field and began bidding for the offshore contracts. It intends to drill three more wells this year.
To support offshore activities in Italy, Bambini took delivery of new platform supply vessel (PSV) Blue Brother from Vittoria Shipyard in Adria, Italy. The 52m, €11 million vessel is owned by Adriese di Navigazione and leased to Bambini. The PSV will also be used for transporting crew to offshore installations as it has capacity for 80 people and a top speed of 28 knots.
Blue Brother has a Kongsberg-supplied class two dynamic positioning system and four Cummins KTA50-M2 engines, which produce 1,342kW of power each at 1,900 rpm. It also has four ZF type 5050 A gearboxes, four 1,370mm propellers and three 175 kVA generator sets. Vittoria Shipyard had previously built PSVs Blue Mommy and Blue Daddy for Bambini.
The Black Sea is also a source of contracts for offshore support vessels. Total is the latest energy company drilling for large gas deposits in the area. It is using drillship Noble Globetrotter II, on a sublet from Shell, and three Global Offshore-operated PSVs. Brokers said PSV Olympus was mobilised to Bulgaria from the North Sea to join PSVs Ben Nevis and Makalu, which were sailed from West Africa, along with the drillship.
In the Caspian, Topaz Energy and Marine gained contracts for 14 offshore vessels that support BP’s operations in the Shah Deniz II project and in the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Guneshli (ACG) area. The agreement includes five-year charters and two one-year options for these vessels. It extends current contracts for the vessels until 2023 and increased Topaz’s global revenue backlog to almost US$1.4 billion. It includes large anchor handlers, PSVs and emergency response and recovery vessels.
Topaz chief executive René Kofod-Olsen said, “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 through tremendous revenue visibility.” Topaz operates a fleet of 21 vessels in Azerbaijan.