Halving the headache with a simple approach
Over-complication of the back deck isn’t a means of improving the quality of operation, believes MDL rental director, Mike Gaskin - and a double-tensioner solution for horizontal lay is one example.
Deep oil isn’t cheap. So how do we get to it, without breaking the bank?
MDL’s speciality is flex lay, so I can only speak from this perspective - I say “only”, but I see so many projects that could have saved themselves plenty of cash at various stages between the equipment coming onto the vessel, right through to demob.
One key thing to note is that by saving cash I don’t mean cutting corners or compromising on safety - quite the opposite. It might be a residue from the former, more buoyant times, but over-complication of the back deck isn’t a means of improving the quality of operation.
A double-tensioner solution for horizontal lay is one example.
For any installation requiring 50-tonne line-pull and over 4.1m track contact length, it has been an established practice in the rental market to opt for two tensioners working in tandem; to be fair, up until recently that has been the only portable solution for that sort of jobs available.
But while using a dual solution doubles up the capabilities of a single system, it also means doubling up on all the drawbacks that come with it.
First factor to look at is, of course, safety. Every pipe lay is a delicate and, by nature, critical operation - hence the time and resources spent on the front-end to ensure the correct spec of the equipment, that is compatible with the product’s characteristics.
Once the right equipment is sourced, it needs to then be configured for the job, with the correct settings for grip, speed and constant tension / render if applicable, to ensure optimum handling. In case of a dual-tensioner option, each tensioner will have to have the grip set up independently, as they are controlled by separate grip circuits and there are risks associated with constant tension / render setups.
It’s clear to see how using two systems increases the risks on the job, where synchronisation is key to a safe operation. Human error aside, even a single-point failure on one of the systems can have a detrimental impact on the product if the other system continues to operate.
But even if the systems operate faultlessly, there are other, external factors that can affect the journey of the product, and there’s no substitute to live observation to catch any potential issues early. Two systems create a requirement for more supervision - and therefore more men on deck to have their eyes on all the right places.
The accumulated space occupied by this combined solution will often mean that it cannot be used for overside deployment, particularly on smaller vessels, with additional steelwork required for mounting on an incline - this leads to either a deviation from the optimum arrangement specified for handling the product, or the more brutal - but correct - decision to go for a larger vessel for the project.
Ironically, two systems won’t take up double the space - in fact, they will require more than that, as they will have to be mobilised at a certain distance apart, on average an additional 2m.
The costs pile up on mobilisation when it comes to sea-fastening, which requires more resources in the design and planning stage, as well as either twice the resource or twice the time for performing the sea-fastening to the deck.
Also, transport of two tensioners to the destination port will have a greater cost impact than that of a single solution, even if undertaken by road.
That’s quite a list, and the answer is really quite simple: halve it.
At 5m and 5.5m track contact length respectively, MDL 110-tonne and 150-tonne tensioners can perform a deepwater installation off any vessel, on any angle and from any orientation on deck. The compact TTS-4 design means that even the largest unit can be transported by road, and lifted on board the vessel in a single lift.
An added benefit is the St Andrews Cross-arrangement, which creates a large opening for product acceptance and abandonment. And - just like the rest of the MDL tensioner range - the larger systems include key safety features preventing damage or loss of product even in case of power failure or emergency shutdown.
The 110-tonne system - our first tensioner above 50-tonne line-pull, and also the market’s first road-transportable solution of its size - was MDL’s response to the unnecessary risks and costs carried by operators conducting offshore flex lay - a response already adopted in two distant basins on the opposite sides of the world, including a beach-pull project and deepwater flexible installation.
I personally don’t believe in doubling resources to get the same outcome - it’s not worth the headache. But what’s your view on it?
Mike Gaskin, rental director
- West of Shetland return with i-Tech 7August 2019
- Fourth African project on way with EG awardJuly 2019
- Double award brings new HLS to fleetJuly 2019
- MDL wins follow-up scope in West AfricaJuly 2019
- Unlocking West Africa's potentialJune 2019
- Project of firsts concluded in MexicoJune 2019
- Accelerating Rever Offshore’s North Sea campaignJune 2019
- It all adds up for single-sourcingMay 2019
- MDL delivers West Africa SURF installation with DeepOceanApril 2019
- Sealing green credentials with ISO 14001April 2019
- Mexico: A story of FirstsMarch 2019
- MDL PVLS celebrated at SPE awardsMarch 2019
- MDL wins West Africa SURF projectFebruary 2019
- At Your ServiceFebruary 2019
- Proving 150Te portability in NigeriaJanuary 2019
- 4-job campaign with TechnipFMC concludedJanuary 2019
- Out with SWL - in with MOLLDecember 2018
- Let's start at the Front EndNovember 2018
- First mid-stream California debutOctober 2018
- Mexico: bridging the gap to faster recoverySeptember 2018
- MDL delivers first LiveWire spreadAugust 2018
- MDL returns to Norway with TechnipFMCJune 2018
- Double Bibby win for MDLJune 2018
- Halving the headache with a simple approachMay 2018
- MDL awarded California pipelay jobMay 2018
- MDL wins Mediterranean umbilical installationMay 2018
- Three lessons about changeApril 2018
- Delmar and MDL join forces to launch LiveWireApril 2018
- Leading the way in subsea innovationMarch 2018
- Disposing of hidden costsMarch 2018
- RDS completes first GoM mission for Subsea 7February 2018
- Hitting the 150Te markJanuary 2018
- MDL sets up equipment base in GoM with DelmarDecember 2017
- MDL maximises focus in the AmericasDecember 2017
- A helping hand across the SeaNovember 2017
- Instinct, MaturedOctober 2017
- Oceaneering adds MDL 800Te RDS to global fleetOctober 2017
- Safe as MDLAugust 2017
- Calculated MovesMay 2017
- 24/7 AmbassadorsApril 2017
- MDL Spread concludes Trinidad jobApril 2017
- Turning the frown upside down at ExpoFebruary 2017
- MDL converts Expo leads to RNLI cashFebruary 2017
- Contract award brings MDL tensioner to APACJanuary 2017
- Winding up the new-buildsDecember 2016
- 800 Tonnes of InnovationDecember 2016
- MDL goes east with new appointmentNovember 2016
- A different cup of teaOctober 2016
- Early project makes a comeback with USA deliveryOctober 2016
- New system redefines global tensioner marketSeptember 2016
- MDL Spread hits anniversary milestoneSeptember 2016
- Latest rental RDS completes first missionJuly 2016
- Asking the right questionsJune 2016
- MDL launches innovative well intervention systemMay 2016
- Portable spread creates new opportunitiesMarch 2016
- An ex-Captain’s perspectiveFebruary 2016
- MDL opens door in AmericaFebruary 2016
- Subsea Expo 2016: Inspiring smart conversationsFebruary 2016
- That's one New Year's resolution worth sticking toJanuary 2016
- Subsea Expo 2016: MDL powers up flex-lay costs reductionJanuary 2016
- Mission accomplished for MDL PVLSNovember 2015
- Maritime Rentals fleet continues to growOctober 2015
- Maritime Developments' first PVLS sets sailSeptember 2015
- Selling value: The toughest challenge with supply chainSeptember 2015
- Let their hair down: Investment that pays backJuly 2015
- Maritime Developments raises £1,400 for Marie Curie Cancer CareJuly 2015
- Cutting costs: Why we’re all in it togetherJune 2015
- Looking hot this summerJune 2015
- Innovation: Speaking the same languageMay 2015
- Final winch order ready for early pickupMay 2015
- Latest reel drive system steals the spotlightApril 2015
- The Budget: A step in the right directionMarch 2015
- Maritime Developments seals 15th anniversary with first VLS orderFebruary 2015
- Smart thinking at Subsea Expo: It all figuresFebruary 2015
- Bespoke tensioner boosts Maritime Developments’ rental fleetJanuary 2015
- Maritime Developments targets well intervention market with joint ventureJanuary 2015
- Third winch package tips electrical delivery over £12millionJanuary 2015
- MDL celebrates 15th Christmas with magical fundraiserDecember 2014
- MDL extends competitive edge with electrical pushNovember 2014
- Key appointment boosts Maritime
Developments’ electrical divisionNovember 2014
- Maritime Developments celebrates 15 years in businessOctober 2014
- Maritime Developments marks RDS success with Aker deliverySeptember 2014
- Major winch delivery ahead of scheduleSeptember 2014
- £1,000 raised for RNLI at Maritime Developments’ eventSeptember 2014
- Patent protection secured for Maritime Developments’ tensionerSeptember 2014
- Maritime Developments celebrates 15th anniversary with workshop hog roastSeptember 2014
- Subsea Expo winners’ pit stop at British Grand PrixSeptember 2014
- Maritime Developments at Subsea Expo 2014April 2014
- Lochnagar fundraiser for Paul Lawrie FoundationApril 2014
- West African contract success as further growth targetedApril 2014
- Largest contract to date for MDLApril 2014
- Maritime Developments launches equipment hire serviceMarch 2014
- Bright future for subsea specialistMarch 2014
- ‘Next Generation’ Tensioner designMarch 2013
- Increased capacity at Aberdeen and PeterheadMarch 2013
- Paul Lawrie swings by MDL stand at Subsea 2013February 2013
- Maritime Developments appoints Operations DirectorSeptember 2012
- Maritime Developments appoints Commercial DirectorJune 2012
- Maritime Developments continued expansionMay 2012
- Fast-track US contract delivered on timeApril 2012
- £1.7m contract from international subsea businessApril 2012
- Maritime Developments exhibits at Subsea 2012 in AberdeenFebruary 2012