Aluminium spreads its wings

David Morgan
Thursday, September 1, 2011

The offshore helideck market continues to be a strong focus of Nieuw-Lekkerland headquartered aluminium specialist Bayards, which continues to optimise its product range and extend the global spread its offshore sector sales.

The company is currently adding a Dubai sales office to those already established in Rio de Janeiro, Milan, Singapore and, as of two years ago, Houston. ‘Our mission is to be closer to our clients, to be innovative and co-operate closely with them as a partner,’ says Bayards’ commercial director Dick de Kluijver. ‘That means being on the spot, and providing back-up to the client wherever and whenever it is required. Of course price is always an issue, but in our experience it is not the only issue – co-operation, quality and service reliability are also important.’

Demand for aluminium helidecks is growing not just offshore but also for hospitals and office buildings, helping Bayards to diversify its client base and negotiate the inevitable market swings in one sector or another.

For the offshore market, the company continues to add new aluminium products to its portfolio while at the same time upgrading and optimising its core helideck products. Its innovative ‘Safedeck’ design, with integrated passive fire-fighting system, has come through all the regulatory tests satisfactorily and the first units are now under construction for Shell’s Gumusut-Kakap project offshore Malaysia and for Talisman in the North Sea.

Bayards also sees considerable market growth potential for aluminium barriers and hand railing offshore. One of the latest designs it is working on is a shock-absorbing barrier – modular and easy to install and maintain – for the busy and congested loading area of an offshore platform. Similar thinking has already been applied to the company’s hand rail offering and brought early success in the form of a major contract for ConocoPhillips’ new Ekofisk South wellhead platform, being built by SMOE.

De Kluijver explains: ‘Traditionally, hand railing on offshore platforms can be a lengthy and often frustrating business, starting with a lot of design work, followed by manufacture, coating, delivery, assembly and then often further site work to make good areas where the pieces don’t fit together properly. We have developed a completely new railing system in aluminium that is modular and flexible, comes with all the necessary connections, corner pieces etc – like Lego – and can be swiftly and 100% accurately assembled on site at the right time.’ He sees bright near-future prospects for the new hand rail kit, which complies with the most stringent regulations, including Norsok.

A measure of its market potential can be seen in the growth of hand railing work associated with some of Bayards’ latest North Sea helideck contracts. Its major order for BP’s Valhall Redevelopment project a couple of years ago not only included the industry’s first aluminium heli hangar (OE August 2010), but also around 1000m of hand railing. For Ekofisk South, the first platform to adopt the new system, some 2000m of hand railing has been specified.

Aluminium helideck and support structure supplied by Bayards for Saipem’s Scarabeo 8 semisumbersible drilling rig. Left: Another Bayards aluminium helideck, this time on the Noordhoek Constructor vessel.

Categories: Products Engineering Activity Europe

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