Stena Drilling extends inspection contract with Sparrows Group

Sparrows Group has been awarded a three-and-a-half-year extension to its inspection services contract for Stena Drilling’s global fleet of drilling vessels.

The contract scope includes carrying out LOLER lifting gear surveys, potential dropped objects surveys, cargo carrying unit (CCU) and non-destructive testing (NDT) inspections as well as rig specific maintenance.

As well as an extension to the contract, the scope has also been expanded to cover Stena’s entire fleet of seven vessels, including the Stena Don in Norway. 

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Initially awarded until the end of 2017, the extension will see Sparrows deliver the inspection service provision until the end of 2020 and marks over 10 years of Sparrows holding the contract.

Stewart Mitchell, chief executive officer of Sparrows Group, said: “We have developed a strong relationship with Stena and we are pleased to continue it with the extension of the inspection services contract. The inclusion of the Stena Don is testament to the excellence of our inspection team and the level of service delivery they have achieved to date.

“Effective inspection and maintenance routines are essential to guarantee the safe and reliable operation of critical equipment and avoid unnecessary downtime. Our inspection team’s experience and reliability will ensure continuity and integrity across Stena’s global fleet.”

This is the latest in a string of contract wins for Sparrows having recently announced the refurbishment of two offshore cranes for Centrica’s Morecambe Bay fields and a three-year maintenance, lifting and rigging contract for the Ichthys LNG project in Australia.

The Sparrows Group is a global provider of specialist equipment and integrated engineering services to the energy and industrial industries. The firm supports customers by delivering a broad range of expert solutions that optimise efficiency and ensure the performance, reliability and safety of critical equipment and people.


DNV GL increases research and testing portfolio in UK

DNV GL has reorganised their research and testing capability in the UK adding a facility at Bishop Auckland, County Durham, UK, to the portfolio.

The site, formerly known as the Flow Centre, has been positioned to complement and enhance the research and testing capability at Spadeadam in Cumbria, increasing the scope across the two centres.

2017 08 03 105826DNV GL’s Bishop Auckland facility

Gary Tomlin, DNV GL Vice President, Safety and Risk, UK, will manage both facilities. He says: “The research and testing site at Bishop Auckland is unique. It has a long history serving the gas industry and primarily does work for the distribution and transmission networks. The facility has now been expanded to serve the offshore sector and we have onsite the only vertical test rig for subsea safety valves in the world. This means a test can be carried out on valves to simulate operational conditions several hundred metres below the seabed.”

The Bishop Auckland test facility boasts one of the largest high-pressure natural gas test facilities in the world. It is connected to the UK national gas transmission system and uses dry natural gas at pressures from approximately 38 to 55 bar and flow rates from 20 to 19,500 actual m3/hr with nominal gas temperature of 5 to 10°C. A wide range of components from 1” to 48” diameter can be gas flow tested. Calibration of pressure and temperature equipment is also performed along with dimensional calibration of orifice plates in laboratories on site. In Cumbria, the Spadeadam Testing and Research Centre is one of the world's most advanced locations for full-scale destructive- and non-destructive testing for the oil and gas, chemical, utilities and security industries. It is the largest facility of its kind in the UK, covering more than 50 hectares within Ministry of Defence land. It gives companies a rare opportunity to conduct ’real-life’ research in a controlled, confidential, and secure environment.

2017 08 03 105843A spindle jet fire at DNV GL’s Spadeadam Testing and Research Centre

Hari Vamadevan, DNV GL Regional Manager for the UK, says: “The two facilities relate so well to one another, it makes perfect sense to consolidate these world class sites and operate them as one unit. The plan is to make these assets the focal point of research in the UK, where we can capitalise on the many joint industry projects we undertake every year.”


Ampelmann introduces the A-type Enhanced Performance motion compensated gangway to support work in higher sea states

AEP offers improved workability and flexibility for the offshore industry

Ampelmann has announced the launch of its latest gangway for personnel transfer: the A-type Enhanced Performace (AEP). Now providing clients with 10% greater workability in sea states up to 4m significant wave height; the AEP also has the ability to use smaller vessels to obtain similar performance (compared to current A-type).

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The AEP features an advanced motion compensation control system with precision controls to enable fast landing and comfortable people transfers. The system significantly improves operational up-time on projects year-round and provides benefits to operators in rougher waters, including the North Sea and the coasts of South America and the Middle East.

The AEP can also be used to ensure comparable workability on a relatively small vessel, where bigger vessels were needed before, saving cost for Ampelmann’s client by allowing flexibility in positioning on the vessel.

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Ampelmann designs and delivers innovative, safe, reliable and efficient transfer solutions to the offshore energy industries globally. With a track record of more than three million safe people transfers, more than 1.5 million kg cargo transfers and 200 projects worldwide, Ampelmann operates in Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East.


UTM Consultants Ltd aims to build subsea talent network

A new UK-based company which aims to address the immediate and long-term skills needs of the global marine energy sector, has been launched (Monday 10th July).  

Headquartered in Cornwall, south-west England, UTM Consultants Ltd will leverage its extensive network together with its industry experience to source and supply the manpower solutions required to deliver complex ROV, survey, inspection, repair and maintenance projects to the oil and gas, renewable, hydrographic, marine, power and telecommunications sectors.

Founded by managing director, Richard Tozer and operations director, Alex Meeks, the privately funded company will specialise in the acquisition and deployment of highly qualified and accomplished professionals from a range of technical and engineering disciplines. 

2017 08 03 104849(L to R) UTM Consultants managing director, Richard Tozer and operations director, Alex Meeks.

Prior to setting up UTM, Richard ran leading marine recruitment services company, GOSS Consultants before selling the business in 2013. Alex has extensive experience in sourcing personnel for the offshore sector, having previously led the survey division of an international survey and ROV recruitment firm.  

Richard commented: “With over 30 years combined experience in matching industry professionals with organisations seeking a specific skills set, we understand the challenges faced by companies and contractors alike.  

“The future of the industry relies on having the best people in the right jobs. Too many of today’s supply agencies are concentrating on the number of hires as opposed to the quality. Often recruiters fail to meet an employer’s exact role requirements as they don’t have the tools or the knowledge to match key competencies with high level labour demands. 

“By concentrating exclusively on very niche industry disciplines, we are in a strong position to source and secure the right talent to fill the most critical roles firms need to sustain growth within the marine and renewable industries.”  

The company, has also established an onshore support team to provide help and guidance to contractors throughout their career.  

Alex Meeks said: “We aim to support the global marine industry by ensuring companies are sufficiently equipped with the technical and engineering expertise to effectively manage and deliver challenging projects offshore.  

“With the increasing pressure on companies to reduce costs and increase efficiencies, we feel the timing is perfect to launch UTM.  

“Our business strategy focuses on providing a dedicated and cost-effective service which will address personnel requirements by managing the supply and demand for the key skills which will help drive the industry forward. This, combined with our experience and global reach is what will differentiate UTM from what is currently being offered in the marketplace.”


OGIC provides academic collaboration for game-changing oil and gas technology development

Collaboration between a new entrant to the oil and gas sector and an academic partner of the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) will now result in the development of new technology to accelerate oil recovery applications and maximise production.

2017 08 03 104521Launched in 2015, Cavitas Energy is one of the oil and gas sector’s newest players focussing on developing new technologies for flow assurance, enhanced production and decommissioning projects. Through a collaborative endeavour with the University of Strathclyde the company has created a unique device which can be deployed downhole to generate heated fluid within the wellbore of injection or production wells to extract heavy crude oil.

Though steam injection is an increasingly common enhanced oil recovery method of extraction, this type of mechanised heating device, which acts as a bypass fluid heater within production wells, is currently not available on the global market.

Chief executive of OGIC, Ian Phillips, said: “The success of this project serves to underline the world-class capabilities within Scottish universities and research institutes which benefit oil and gas technology development.

“The work carried out to date is fast-tracking a new product to market and has resulted in an ongoing relationship between Cavitas Energy and the University of Strathclyde.”

OGIC provides a single access point to the knowledge and capabilities of Scottish universities for the oil and gas industry. It part-funds and provides management support to projects with the potential to deliver technology solutions to the exploration, production and decommissioning challenges facing the industry.

Key aims for OGIC are to stimulate knowledge exchange and research activities and to provide an environment that supports the development of the next generation of business innovators, academics and entrepreneurs in Scotland.

Steven Johnstone, director at Cavitas Energy, commented: “With an increased demand amongst the industry for technological innovation, the development of this project would not be possible without the support and collaboration offered by OGIC and its selected academic partners.

“I am more than impressed with the partnership between Cavitas Energy, the University of Strathclyde and OGIC. With all parties collaborating effectively, the benefits of this project are vast and may well lead to further research in this area.”

The University of Strathclyde has a proven track record of engaging with oil and gas players and its Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Industrial Fluid Mechanics (IFM) Group has unparalleled  experience in experimental and computational fluid mechanics.

Dr Martin Walkinshaw, strategic research and knowledge exchange manager at the University of Strathclyde, also commented: “We are delighted with the successful project outcome with Cavitas Energy and hope to continue working together in the future. The project’s outcomes will potentially lead to a unique product offering which would be incredibly advantageous to the market.”

All three organisations will continue to work together to bring the new technology into the next phase of development.