The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

May/Jun 2016


Society for Underwater Technology

Extra chairs needed for divers and ROVs meeting

One of the things we know at the Aberdeen SUT Branch is that for our evening seminars, certain subjects tend to draw a larger audience. Diving is one, possibly because the audience for March’s ‘Divers and ROVs: Evolving Missions for a Lower Cost-base’ meeting included a number of faces we knew to be familiar with the inside of a Kirby Morgan Superlite. In addition, a spread of ages from the diving, vehicle and subsea engineering community made a crowd of 113 in all. We needed to pull in extra chairs from the adjacent meeting rooms as a result.

Paul Williams of the Aberdeen SUT Branch Committee started proceedings on the ‘cost-base’ theme, adding a couple of announcements of an administrative nature regarding the Aberdeen SUT Committee.


Craig Hosking, operations manager of N-Sea, was our first speaker, advocating the advantages of planning for underwater work with a complete suite of tools. At the beginning of the 2015 season, N-Sea mobilised a full spread of ROV and diving construction vessels supplemented by daughter-craft for air-diving for a detailed programme of work on Maersk Oil UK assets.

Normally, different phases of a campaign would be mobilised separately with cost savings as the justification, but Craig argued the N-Sea approach gave a 20% improvement in productive time because a single project management team was able to integrate schedules for underwater work with the platform schedule and furthermore, all tools were available at the outset of the campaign.


As a result, the platforms gave vessels priority when needed for pipeline operations, so reducing avoidance of simultaneous operations and the amount of time waiting-on-platform, while all tools gave N-Sea flexibility over covering the fall-back scopes. Fewer interim port-calls and fewer transits resulted and the overall effect was a reduction in cost.

Alan Cassie, Subsea 7 project manager, then discussed a project to remediate wear on the Dunlin Alpha’s conductors at a depth of -10m LAT, too shallow for any reliable diving. A two-part telescoping clamp was developed, fabricated, tested and mobilised offshore within 10 months. The tool connected to the conductor with the aid of a rope-access team below the platform deck, then was walked down the conductor, with the tool able to vary its step-length and rotate as necessary to avoid obstacles such as pad-eyes.

The tool cleaned conductors and inserted wear-sleeves on several of the Dunlin’s conductors, with a weather sensitivity comparable to a larger diving vessel with an operational efficiency an order of magnitude greater than an air-diving campaign in such shallow water.

Another judge of the quality of a presentation is whether the audience has any questions. They didn’t disappoint, delaying both Craig and Alan’s return to their seats. The networking buffet too was noisy with talk.

Martin Harley and Paul Williams

Reeled rigid pipelay in ultra-deep water

The London and South of England Branch held its third evening meeting of 2016 in April at Imperial Collage London. There was a large attendance for this eagerly anticipated talk entitled ‘A New Method of Reeled Pipelay in Ultra-deep Water’. The speaker, John Meenaghan from EMAS CHIYODA Subsea, introduced the Lewek Constellation, the latest addition to the EMAS fleet of pipelay and construction vessels.

The Lewek Constellation is an ice-classed, ultra-deepwater rigid and flexible pipelay/heavy lift/ construction vessel. The Constellation utilises a portable reel concept which effectively decouples the Constellation from the spool base and takes the pipeline fabrication off the critical path.

John opened with an introduction to the EMAS group and its capabilities. This was followed by a history of pipeline installation and the evolution of reel-lay. We were taken back in time with a World War Two newsreel on Operation PLUTO, the project that after D-Day reeled pipeline under the English Channel to France to enable millions of gallons of oil to reach the Allied armies.


John spoke with great knowledge of the vessel as he was directly responsible for leading the transition from build to operations of the Lewek Constellation, the Reel Barge 1 (RB1) and two spool bases (Ingleside, Texas, USA, and Gulen, Norway). He explained that the concept grew out of the idea of taking the pipe to the ship rather than bringing the ship to spool base. To realise this concept, the Constellation has the capacity of handling four portable rigid pipe reels and two flexible pipe reel carousels. To retain the vessel in the field, the portable spools are transported from the spool base via a special pipe spooling and transportation barge, RB1. These portable spools are lifted full onto the Constellation deck skids for storage prior to being reeled off (deployed) via the moon pool.

John then took us through the successful pipelay trials in the Gulf of Mexico that proved the concept in May 2015. The trials laid approximately three kilometres of 16-inch (40-centimetre) outside diameter, one-inch (2.5-centimetre) wall thickness rigid pipe in water depths of approximately 2250 metres.

On the back of this successful trial, the Constellation had its inaugural pipelay projects. The projects were the Rio Grande and Gunflint for Noble Energy in 2200 metres water depths in the Gulf of Mexico. These projects required that 106 kilometres of eight-inch (20-centimetre) and 12-inch (30-centimetre) pipe-in-pipe be laid, four steel catenary risers (x 14 kilometres), eight pipeline end terminations, five inline tees and 80 reel lifts be performed.

John happily reported that the project was successfully completed and that the versatility of the Constellation was able to deal with the change in installation sequence during the project due to loop currents.
Extensive questions followed from the attendees regarding many aspects of the presentation, ranging from vessel design, reeling procedures, future of reeled pipe and the market outlook. Chairman Bob Allwood brought the meeting to a close and all retreated to the reception area for well-deserved wine and cheese.

Charles O’Toole

Barefoot bowls and BBQ

SUT YES! (Young Engineers & Scientists) kicked off its first event of the year in March at the Perth and Tattersall Bowling and Recreation Club. The evening consisted of a networking workshop, barefoot lawn bowls, barbeque for dinner and a raffle.

As people arrived in the club they were given a bar token and some casual networking was done. The evening formally started off with a talk by Ibrahim Ayoub (YES! chair/Wood Group Kenny). Ibrahim introduced YES! and gave a run down of the night. Drinks were rewarded to attendees as they supported the new SUT YES! Linkedin group and made contacts throughout the evening, collecting several business cards from the fellow YES! community.


The floor was then handed over to SUT Committee members Afton Galbraith (Subsea Engineering Associates), Ross Hendricks (FMC Technologies), Liz Lindhal (Wood Group Kenny) and Chris Saunders (INPEX) to explain the networking workshop which they then facilitated. The workshop consisted of four sessions: Social Media; Industry Group Participation; Conferences/Publishing; and Organisation Networking. In these sessions individuals were encouraged to share ideas about the ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘value’ of each of these aspects of networking. The workshop ran for half an hour during which nibbles were devoured.


After the networking session we all moved down to the green to learn about lawn bowls. People split into teams of four and the games began. Chris Saunders, Sarah Madrigal (ARUP) and Jennifer Maninin (SUT) kindly managed the barbeque so that everyone was able to enjoy dinner back in the club house after the bowls finished up.

The night wound up with a wrap-up and raffle drawn by Naomi Naveh (Curtin University) and Jennifer Maninin, with a bottle of wine, an SUT towel and a free ticket to the next YES! event all given out as prizes.
Overall, Barefoot Bowls and BBQ 2016 was a casual and fun event and a great way to promote the new Linkedin page. It had great feedback and ran more smoothly than last year.


Naomi Naveh





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