June 2024

MDL invests big to multiply flexlay capability

MDL has committed over £7million of capital investment to expand its flexlay asset range.

This includes 6 new pieces of modular equipment unique to MDL’s portfolio, including high-capacity tensioners and reel drive systems, as well as the most recent innovation: Wheeled Horizontal Lay System (WHLS).

The additions will extend MDL’s tensioner range, already known for offering the largest single road-transportable systems on the market, capable of higher line pulls and wider product operating windows thanks to the increased track contact length and upgraded squeeze cylinders.

Another key addition will by the Wheeled Horizontal Lay System, unveiled by MDL in 2023 with the maiden unit delivered to an offshore contractor in Brazil where it has been operational for riser recovery from deep waters in the Santos Basin.

The compact system will integrate with MDL’s wide 4-track tensioner range and can be applied for both decommissioning and installation scopes, delivering the tensioner’s full line-pull capacity without being limited by the capstan effect – the friction and drag observed with chute-based solutions, which significantly reduce the system’s retrieval capability.

The combination of MDL’s high-capacity tensioners and WHLS creates a lay and retrieval package applicable for a wide range of flexible products, including cables and SURF, deployable in deep waters off vessels of opportunity.

The new additions will also include MDL’s Generation 3 Reel Drive System, characterised by the narrowest footprint on the market, allowing for reel-based operations on smaller vessels or constrained back decks.

Andrew Blaquiere, MDL Managing Director, said:

“This significant investment from MDL shareholders is a sign of their belief in the company and commitment to our clients, to enable them to progress with their complex scopes in highly competitive and transitioning markets.

“In all we do, we continue to focus on our customer’s needs, while also looking into the future – thinking about innovation and what MDL needs to bring to the market to solve those challenges that are just around the corner. That Ingenious Instinct is what has always driven us in identifying what the next step for the business would be in order to align ourselves with the current and future needs of the market.

“We’re applying this approach with our traditional client base as well as new energy sectors - notably Floating Offshore Wind – that experience the same challenges with handling dynamic cables, mooring lines and buoyancy modules, while facing a global shortage of specialist vessels.

“We’re confident that the products that we have brought to the market can enable these operations.”

The investment comes off the back of significant growth in the business over the recent years, fuelled by increased global brand recognition for MDL’s Integrated Project Services, surge in overseas orders as well as long-term contracts with established clients.

Through its Integrated Project Services, MDL supplements its equipment and expert field service personnel packages with engineering consultancy, design services and Project Management support on and offshore, including early feasibility studies, pre-project vessel planning, quayside marshalling and managing vessel mobilisation and demobilisation operations.

This growth is also reflected in the company’s recent move to new premisses in Gateway Business Park, Aberdeen, to accommodate the doubling of staff numbers since the company’s move to its previous HQ in Westhill in 2020.

The 6,000sq m facility with additional 4,000sq m of yard space combines offices, meeting rooms, communal areas and workshops, including testbeds for new equipment commissioning and FAT as well as pre-project testing.