Maritime Developments Ltd (MDL) and Jumbo Maritime have completed a deepwater polyester mooring rope installation in the Gulf of Mexico.
The project moored a new floating production unit (FPU) at depths of 1,200m (4000ft). The operation was performed using an MDL mooring spread mobilized on-board Jumbo’s Heavy Load Carrier, the Fairplayer.
The MDL spread consisted of a Generation 1 Reel Drive System and level winder for precise transpooling of mooring line ropes from a total of 24 transport reels onto a purpose-built, heavy-duty deployment reel; as well as a Generation 2 Reel Drive System for the overside installation of the product.
The polyester rope transport reels were mobilized on deck in two parallel bays, allowing for 15 reels to be handled on the top deck, with the remaining reels deployed from the middle deck.
The specialist 8.6m OD installation reel was designed by MDL’s in-house engineering team and features a spoked section to separate the polyester rope and mooring chain. The reel had a dual function on the project: firstly, allowing the transpooling of the product from the storage reels under back tension, and secondly for deployment of the lines overboard. MDL Generation 2 RDS’ 150Tem of torque enables handling of loads of up to 75Te, revving in both directions.
A further bespoke feature designed and manufactured by MDL was a skid frame to allow the HPU to skid with the Generation 1 RDS down the tracks.
This project was the first joint installation by MDL and Jumbo in the Gulf of Mexico, but follows other mooring scopes in the Mediterranean and offshore Brazil in 2020-21.
Paul Marshall, MDL Project Engineer, said, “From the onset MDL and Jumbo collaborated as One Team to support each client and mooring project at every stage. We received superb feedback, where both our on-board and office-based teams have been recognized for their professionalism, proactive and knowledgeable approach, and our equipment to be a good match for Jumbo’s asset.
“Considering the number of reels to be deployed, the combination of a large back deck and our compact but highly capable equipment resulted in a fit-for-purpose solution that was much more efficient than using traditional approaches, such as deploying an Anchor Handler.
“The Fairplayer’s combined footprint on the upper and middle deck meant that the complete installation was performed in a single trip - reducing the cost and impacts of port calls, transit and the overall length of the mission.”
Andrew Blaquiere, Managing Director at MDL, said, “I am so pleased that our successful collaboration with Jumbo has delivered efficiencies to a Gulf of Mexico operator and their new development start-up. This project has allowed us to demonstrate that there are alternative approaches available even for traditional operations such as moorings – and for deepwater basins.
“MDL is developing a reputation for identifying new, leaner, safer approaches to traditional operations, to help project teams meet their schedule and budget targets in an increasingly demanding market. That’s exactly where we want to be.
“Our in-house combination of market-leading, portable and adaptable equipment, together with PM&E talent and decades of collective expertise, allow us to effectively analyze the challenge at hand and formulate a solution – either to suit the client’s fleet or any vessel they have convenient access to.”
In the meantime, an installation of a sheathed Spiral Strand Wire Rope (SSWR) in the APAC region is using an MDL mooring spread with a 4-track tensioner as the master system to moor in an FPSO.
To date, MDL equipment has installed over 145km of polyester rope, as well as torpedo anchor pennants SSWR and steel wire rope, across three continents.