Tag Archives: offshore

OFFSHORE | Death reveals Oz safety gap

Originally published in Safety at Sea International, 2010/09/28

AN INQUIRY into the 2008 death of a seafarer has uncovered gaps in regulations covering offshore vessels in Australian waters.

The 45-year-old crewman was killed while severing a mooring line during disconnection of Teekay-operated FSO Karratha Spirit from its CALM buoy off northwest Western Australia, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said. The accident happened on Christmas Eve as the FSO sought to avoid the approaching Cyclone Billy.

The ATSB found the proper procedures for connecting and disconnecting from the mooring buoy had not always been followed on Karratha Spirit. The difference between the procedures and shipboard practice had not been identified during any shipboard review and the risks associated with this amended practice had not been assessed, it added.

The bureau also discovered that some points of routine operation of FSOs and similar offshore units were not regulated by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority or the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The ATSB said Teekay has addressed the minor safety issues arising, while AMSA and NOPSA are both “actively engaged” in resolving the jurisdictional issues together with the federal government.


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OFFSHORE | BP forms ‘powerful’ new safety unit

Originally published in bbc.co.uk, 2010/09/29

BP has formed a new unit to oversee safety across the company following the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

The oil giant says the division will have “sweeping powers”, including the authority to intervene in operations to uphold safety standards.

Mark Bly, who headed BP’s internal investigation into the hugely damaging US oil spill, will run the new unit.

He will report directly to Bob Dudley, who takes over as chief executive on 1 October.

BP hopes the new unit, along with a number of other organisational changes, will help rebuild trust in the company.

It is also splitting its Upstream business into three divisions – Exploration, Development and Production.

As part of the reorganisation, it will examine how it manages third-party contractors.

BP’s internal investigation, published last month, blamed a “sequence of failures involving a number of different parties” for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

It said it was responsible in part for the disaster, but also placed some blame on other companies working on the well.

Safeseas note 1: to learn more about the “blame” of other companies, I would suggest this BBC’s article: Who’s blamed by BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Safeseas note 2: in such big, high-profile disasters, one has to be very careful to avoid the trap of blame. The “blame game” creates an hostile environment to the progress of safety.

Safeseas note 3: 11 men died as a result of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. This should not be forgotten.

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Brazilian orderbook set to surge

Aaron Kelley | TRADEWINDS.NO

Rolls-Royce says it expects to pocket $18.6m from fresh systems orders placed by Brazilian shipowners.

The company will supply propulsion and control systems for seven offshore support vessels (OSVs) that are under construction in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro-based Companhia Brasileira de Offshore (CBO) has placed an order for four units that will be installed in offshore vessels being built at local shipyard Alianca.

Deep Sea Supply will take one unit while two have been ordered by Siem Consub. Both companies have ordered ships at Brazil’s STX Promar.

Industry experts have been sceptical about the country’s ability to manufacture technologically advanced vessels that are capable of operating in the treacherous “pre-salt” regions off the Brazilian coast.

A senior executive at Rolls-Royce used Friday’s announcement to reiterate sentiment supporting the region’s bright future.

“Brazil will be one of the most important offshore markets in the years to come,” Helge Gjerde said in a statement. “A considerable number of vessels and rigs are to be built in the next five years.”

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Keppel invests in Brazilian shipyard

Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M), through its wholly-owned Brazilian subsidiary, Navegantes Maritime Construction and Services, has entered into an agreement with Brazil’s TWB Group to acquire the Estaleiro TWB shipyard in Navegantes, Santa Catarina. This acquisition is subject to the fulfillment of conditions by TWB Group.

This 7.6-ha shipyard will be operated by Keppel O&M’s specialised shipbuilding arm, Keppel Singmarine. It has a 300-metre long waterfront and is equipped with a slipway, pipe and hull shops and an outfitting quay. Keppel O&M’s total investment in the yard, including further capital expenditure to upgrade and modernise the facility, will be in the region of about US$50 million.

Mr Chow Yew Yuen, President (the Americas) of Keppel O&M, said, “Our latest acquisition reinforces Keppel O&M’s Near Market, Near Customer strategy, and complements our BrasFELS yard in Angra dos Reis in offering a slew of comprehensive solutions for Brazil’s offshore oil and gas sector.

“Petrobras has announced plans to charter some 147 locally-built Offshore Support Vessels over the next five years, with at least 70% of the work on each newbuild to be carried out within the country. Through this new facility, we will bring our specialised shipbuilding expertise to the doorsteps of Brazil’s offshore field development market to help satisfy the demand for robust support vessels.”

To be named Keppel Singmarine Brasil, the new yard will focus on the construction of Offshore Support Vessels such as Anchor Handling Tug Supply vessels, Platform Supply Vessels, Oil Recovery Support Vessels and harbour tugs, among others. It will also be equipped to undertake the fabrication of offshore modules, which will be an added advantage for Keppel to support the execution of major projects at the BrasFELS yard.

The modernisation programme planned for Keppel Singmarine Brasil will include upgrading the existing slipway, as well as constructing a new slipway, a wharf, heavy lift gantry cranes and pipe and hull shops fitted with modern machinery and equipment.

Keppel’s new yard is expected to be operational by the second half of 2010. At full capacity, it is estimated to be able to complete an average of eight vessels a year.

“Keppel Singmarine Brasil is set to offer a one-stop solution for customised vessels, backed by our proven proprietary technology and engineering capabilities. I am confident that we have a compelling proposition for ship owners operating in Brazil, which will poise us to capture new opportunities and meet Brazil’s high local content requirements,” Mr Chow added.

The municipality of Navegantes, where Keppel Singmarine Brasil is based, is an hour’s flight from the city of Sao Paulo. The shipyard is located 110km north of Florianopolis, the capital city of Santa Catarina, and is 15 minutes by car to the Navegantes airport. It is also in proximity of supporting marine industries in the Navegantes and Itajai areas.

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OFFSHORE | Brazil could be ‘demise’ of desperate

One US player has warned that Brazil is not the panacea some think it is.  

Darrin Griggs

Offshore Brazil has been a beacon growing ever brighter as the world’s markets dimmed but some say new shipowning entrants drawn to the nation’s difficult sector may end up as moths in the flame. Massive deepwater discoveries beneath salt domes off Brazil, ever-increasing budgets at state oil company Petrobras and huge newbuilding plans for ships and rigs have featured large in discussions of the nation’s prospects. In delivering positive sentiments on the offshore sector, owners, brokers and analysts have used the names of “Brazil” and “Petrobras” with increasing frequency since the sharp turn of the markets in 2008. However, Hornbeck Offshore Services (HOS) founder and chief executive Todd M Hornbeck says companies fleeing poor markets to seek shelter in Brazil may wake up to a harsh reality. HOS, which has 51 supply vessels and four multipurpose support vessels (MPSVs), has been in and out of Brazil mainly on a well-to-well basis for decades, says Hornbeck. The company now has long charters for eight offshore vessels with Petrobras. Two are currently working in Brazil and another six are now being modified at shipyards in the US to join them on contracts that were negotiated in 2008. All eight will be at work by June. “While it is a very dynamic place from a business standpoint, it’s got some big challenges and, in the lure to Brazil, a lot of people will go down there and not be as profitable as they thought. It’s a place where you can’t make very many mistakes,” said Hornbeck. “Petrobras is just a smart company, a complex company. Not just Brazil but Petrobras, the company, represents 50% of the world’s deepwater exploration. It is a big, big entity. So Brazil is a very challenging place from an operational standpoint, with very large oilfields and a client that understands your business just as well as you do.” Apart from dealing with a savvy, demanding and bureaucratic client, working in Brazil is complicated in terms of corporate taxing strategy and for local manning requirements because the market is booming with too few crew to go around, says Hornbeck. As the requirement for the proportion of local crew rises after new ships enter the area, the HOS ships will eventually end up with only the company’s original masters and engineers.Some say being too competitive on the pricing of charters to Petrobras can be risky for the owner. Other US owners, such as Laborde Marine, which is building vessels in Brazil, have mentioned crewing as a problem but also talked of unexpected costs that have mounted to chip away at the planned profit margins to render projects unfeasible. US owner Harvey Gulf International says it offered a vessel into a recent Petrobras tender and failed but adds that it intentionally priced the contract high as it saw no reason to take a chance. The downturn in the offshore sector after the start of the global economic turmoil, especially visible in mature regions such as the North Sea and the US Gulf of Mexico, has created a new focus on Brazil for many in the offshore sector. “Particularly now, with this market, because Brazil is such a large draw of equipment and need, I think a lot of people are running down there thinking it is a panacea and it’s going to save them. Actually, I think probably the inverse will happen – it will be their demise,” said Hornbeck. HOS offered in ships on a recent tender round and was unsuccessful but says it feels no pressure to rush into Brazil for more charter coverage. “We bid into Brazil for years and didn’t win contracts. And it is important to remember that the contracts we have there now were actually negotiated in 2008, so we are not running to Brazil because we are afraid to stack equipment in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Hornbeck. “On the recent tender, we put the pricing where it made sense for us and our shareholders on a return basis and the market is just below that. We are not sorry we missed it because we can wait and when the market returns there will be opportunities.”


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