May 2017

Calculated Moves

As MDL adds a brand new tensioner to its Offshore Service fleet in a challenging market, BD & commercial manager Dave Gardiner explains how going against the tide results in greater returns for the industry - not only in oil and gas.

In joining MDL in February 2017, I knew this would be an exciting move.

Coming from the subsea contractor market, I experienced first-hand the challenges the industry was facing in keeping operational costs to a minimum, whilst delivering crucial work in a challenging market.

Having engaged MDL as our supplier in my previous company, I have always been impressed with their fresh approach to these varying industry challenges. They especially excelled in their effort to reduce the clients’ cost base, whilst constantly looking to improve products and services.

However, it was not just that cutting-edge technology that attracted me to the company, but rather the innovative attitude to apply that technology in areas unchartered - all in a bid to increase efficiency.

These first few months have not disappointed. As a company, we have reached a few major milestones that have enhanced the all-important track record of our existing equipment.

We have also surpassed this and been able to take bolder steps in better serving our market. In under six months, we have added two new pipelay tensioners to our Offshore Service fleet.

Firstly, the MDL TTS-4/310 - our newest 4-tracker, which has just returned from its first project; a beach pull for a Tier 1 contractor in India. The job was very successful, taking two weeks to lay just under 25km of umbilical and concluded 15 days ahead of schedule.

While following the concept of the patented MDL TTS-4/140 tensioner, the new 110Te unit features an extended track length to allow an extremely low squeeze-per-meter ratio. This is vitally important when handling small-diameter products in shallow waters, as is the case in beach pulls.

Secondly, there’s the MDL TTS-2/140, our unique 2-track option. Its 3.3m tracks offer one of the longest track lengths by a tensioner of its kind; this, coupled with the allowable squeeze-per-metre of 42.2Te, means it can handle small diameter products safely and efficiently.

In fact, it’s been commissioned on a wide range of products (between 45mm – 620mm diameter) and because only the top track requires the pads to be changed to cater for this product range, the downtime between change-outs is reduced to a minimum.

The concept behind these two strikingly unique pieces of kit is to offer MDL’s cost-saving formula on a wider scale geographically. Both tensioners can travel by road or in containers anywhere in the world to reduce transit and mobilisation/demobilisation costs.

This is important, because - although MDL is a well-established brand in the flex-lay supply chain - the benefits of our equipment are directly transferrable to other parts of onshore and offshore operations. These include maintenance and refurbishment of port and storage facilities, as well as renewables, telecoms and decommissioning.

This is not just wishful thinking on our part; MDL already has the technology and the track record to demonstrate either the cost savings or the increased efficiency from using its solutions in these markets.

And it’s no wonder - challenging the norm has been the main differentiator that has fuelled and contributed to MDL’s continuous growth over the years. With this experience behind MDL, being creative, or adapting a concept from one market to the other is no longer risk-based - it’s both a calculated and educated move towards improving operations in diverse markets.

We will be talking about these creative concepts during the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 where we are exhibiting as part of the Scottish Pavilion on the 6-8 June; come and speak to either myself or my team where we’ll be keen to elaborate on this further.

As for myself, knowing what I know now from the inside, I am more excited than ever about what lies ahead. It’s great to be leading discussions on solutions to maximise existing technology and get it into the hands of new users to enhance end-client returns. It is also encouraging to be assisting our clients in their own individual journeys of reducing spending in areas they did not think was possible.

Whatever lies ahead over the next months, one thing’s for certain: the energy industry will never stop throwing up fresh challenges. I am, however, absolutely certain that MDL is ready to take them on - after all, what are true innovators for?

Dave Gardiner, BD & Commercial Manager