Conventional mooring in Brazilian depth

The water depth record for conventional mooring offshore Brazil was improved by another 12m – to 2027m – by InterMoor recently under its one-year mooring and positioning support operations contract with Shell using the mobile offshore drilling unit Noble Clyde Boudreaux (pictured). These operations, due to run until the middle of 2012, focus on the Campos and Santos basins, but could be in any location off Brazil’s southeast coast in water depths ranging from 600m to 2300m.

Andre Oliveira, project manager, InterMoor says: ‘We are committed to delivering safe, efficient and costeffective mooring operations in support of this drilling campaign. There are challenges, so we have worked with Shell to plan everything in minute detail. This planning is essential if we are to continually break new boundaries.’

The contract covers the provision of engineering mooring analysis reports and conventional mooring. InterMoor designs mooring patterns for the MODU at every drilling location, involving a mix of open-water exploration work and mooring around subsea assets. The company assists Shell in defining the anchor-handling vessel specifications for the programme based on the final mooring system design and supplies mooring coordinators, engineers and survey personnel on the rig and anchorhandling vessels to supervise and direct mooring system deployment, retrieval and connection to the rig. Because of the water depths and the high loads, the anchor handlers are high power vessels with bollard pulls of 265t and fitted with 3000m work wires. The planning also considered the availability of mooring element spares as a critical measure to prevent unexpected major delays.

Siebe Viersen, senior drilling supervisor, Shell Brasil, says anchor handling operations for these rig moves were ‘well managed and executed without any HSE related incident and well within the time allocated for the activity’.

InterMoor’s Oliveira says the contract, first won in 2006 for the Arctic 1 MODU and varied in 2011 for theNoble Clyde Boudreaux, underlined his company’s strong presence and rapid growth in Brazil. ‘We have recently acquired a dockside area facility at Port of Açu in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro state. This will enable us to improve the logistics of future mooring and installation projects further.’ OE 

Parker's Neil Schulz with the first of the Jack & St Malo reels.

Giant reels for JSM

Production of one of the largest ever polyester mooring ropes is now well under way at the Parker Scanrope manufacturing facility in Tønsberg, Norway. The MoorLine ropes, totaling 56,000m and destined for Chevron’s Jack & St Malo project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, are 275mm in diameter and have a minimum breaking load of 2300t (22,563kN), among the highest to be utilized for a deepwater offshore installation.

Six out of a total of 61 ropes required to moor the JSM floating production unit in 2100m of water had been completed by mid-April at Parker Scanrope’s Oslo fjord facility, which is able to manufacture very long lengths onto a single reel due to its quayside location. According to Neil Schulz, sales & technology manager in parent group Parker Hannifin’s Energy Products Division, and the person responsible for the rope design and associated engineering/certification for the project, the reels for JSM will hold 108t of rope, ‘which by far exceeds anything manufactured before in the industry’. The FOB delivery date is end of February 2013, with an anticipated delivery in the Gulf of Mexico six weeks later.

In September of 2010, Parker Scanrope – the mooring business unit of EPD – qualified the rope design through testing and achieved the Chevron requirements with an average break load of 2445t (23,985kN). The contract, awarded a year later, also calls for offshore field inspection support services during installation.

Parker’s previous largest polyester MoorLine rope, with an overall length of 33,000m, a minimum breaking load of 1814t and individual unit rope weights of around 70t, was supplied to Technip to moor Shell’s Perdido spar in 2450m of water. 

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