The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Mar/Apr 2015


Society for Underwater Technology

Vessels under the spotlight

More than 160 attendees turned up to listen to Josip Micak from Technip and Alistair Hope from Shell discuss ‘Vessels/New Tonnage’ at the Aberdeen Branch’s February evening meeting. Such a subject is always at risk of descending into a game of Top Trumps over who has the biggest crane boom, but both speakers were engaging on the engineering and commercial problems that new vessels, which after all are merely tools, allowed them to solve.


Pictures being worth a thousand words, moving pictures even more so, both speakers came armed with clips for the audience, sadly, without popcorn, but engaged the attendees enough for them not to notice how long it would be until dinner arrived.


Josip Micak, lead rigid pipelines engineer for Technip in the UK, with more than 10 years experience, presented Technip’s new state-of-the-art pipelay vessel Deep Energy. Cruising at 19.5 knots and capable of both rigid and flexible installation, the vessel’s transit speed and ability to reel two-kilometre pipe stalks in tandem greatly increase the market’s reel-lay capabilities. Josip went on to explain how the vessel has already been tested on the Lucius and Walker Ridge developments in the Gulf of Mexico, both exceeding 2000 metres depth.


With 23 years of varied international experience with Shell, Dr Alistair Hope, project director for the Brent Decommissioning Project at Shell, is responsible for one of the largest and most complex decommissioning projects in the UK.


Decommissioning has already started on the Brent field, which is coming to the end of its life after nearly 40 years. Where inventory, overall weight, structural integrity and unknown materials all needed quantifying, Alistair discussed the technical and operational challenges of dissembling platforms so that a vessel like Allseas’ new Pioneering Spirit could lift and remove the topsides. Like Josip, Alistair showed video of what are likely to be the heaviest ever offshore lifts before going on to discuss the environmental selection of the yard that would perform the onshore disposal. 


Martin Harley

Lively start to the new year for SUT+
  • Attendees get intimate with the inside of a dive chamber at the National Hyperbaric Centre

The Aberdeen Branch SUT+ group, which was created for developing professionals working in the subsea industry in Scotland, has kicked-off the year with three fantastic events.


On 22 January the SUT+ Pub Quiz was held at local bar, Korova, with 11 teams taking part. The evening provided a great opportunity to network and kick-off the New Year. ‘Mary Berry’s Master Bakers’ (Subsea 7) were the winning team and the ‘Scrambled Egg Heads’ (ADIL) were awarded the wooden spoon! The group hopes to make this an annual event.



On 3 February, the group worked with Hydro Group plc to arrange a tour at its site in Bridge of Don. There was a presentation on Hydro Group’s products and service areas, which include engineering, product design, manufacturing, project management and product testing, and this was followed by a tour of the workshop and manufacturing facilities.


On 24 February, the group was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC). Attendees were given a presentation on commercial diving, hyperbaric medicine and hyperbaric testing of subsea equipment. This was followed by a tour of the NHC facility where the group were given the chance to see the hyperbaric test facility and put the presentations into context.



The organising committee has also welcomed four new committee members, Lorna Gunn and Aleksandra Zefirova, both from Technip, Nick Swan from BP and Victoria Brumpton from ADIL, who will help to contribute to the group’s activities and events going forward. They join Kieran Reddington, Samantha Murray, Surrinder Retour and Ryan Hosick all from Wood Group Kenny, and Stuart Inglis from Subsea 7.


For further information on events and to sign up to the mailing list, please visit

Lunchtime Kuala Lumpur meeting indicates steady growth in branch support

The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Branch held its first lunchtime meeting of 2015 at the Malaysian Petroleum Club on Thursday, 12 February. The event was well attended with more than 40 members and guests present; given the number of apologies also received it would appear branch support is growing steadily.


The first presentation from Khosro Nekonam of Intecsea was an informative and insightful discussion of pipeline installation methods with emphasis on deepwater. The main differences between reel, J-lay and S-lay methods were explained along with some of the criteria relevant to deciding between methods.


This was followed by a presentation by Mike Theobald on the ever-intriguing subject of subsea systems reliability. Mike was able to inform the audience of new tools and models that can be used by the operations engineer to better manage systems in future. The presentation began with a discussion around the definition of reliability and displayed the reality behind figures quoted for reliability of 25 years of an oil field. Illustrations were presented of the cost impact to other industries recently of unreliable products. The presentation went on to discuss what this means to operator, contractors and suppliers and examples were given of impacts of reliability issues in terms of both soft and hard costs to our industry. Finally it was explained that reliability must be addressed across all of the phases of a project, not just in the final stages.



The final presentation by Neil Oakes was a personal reflection, based on 36 years in subsea engineering, on manifold design drivers and changing trends. The presentation started with the Central Cormorant underwater manifold centre and the first attempts to build diverless “deepwater” systems through changes in focus in the late 1980s partly driven by oil price cycles. The presentation ended with a thought for the young engineers on making designs more cost effective in times of oil price volatility. Some thoughts were offered on present trends of putting more and more functionality into manifolds and the impact of this on size, installation and handling.  





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