Faster Than A Speeding...

It is little secret that as offshore oil production moves further from shore, the boats that service these offshore units must be bigger, stronger and more capable than their ancestors.

Here's a peak at emerging technologies and the boats that house them.

big find,' and now that many of the complexities have been largely solved, namely the ability to accurately project volume of product at such great depths — orders for new, more capable vessels in ever increasing numbers.

The technology to cost efficiently discover and recover oil and gas in increasingly deeper part of the Gulf of Mexico has quickly led to the development of bigger, stronger and more ruggedly equipped Offshore Service Vessels, not only on drawings boards but operating on the waterways. The discovery of oil and gas fields such as Auger, Marlim and Mars, have among others, highlighted the vast potential for drilling success and the inadequacy of the current fleet of OSVs to perform the job as cost effectively as possible.

The oil companies have invested billions in efforts to discover the 'next One of the more notable vessels delivered in the last six months is BJ Blue Ray, a vessel built by Leevac Shipyards LLC, and delivered to Hornbeck. The vessel had been chartered to BJ Services, Houston, Texas, and finished as a well stimulation vessel.

Measuring 265 x 60 ft. (80.7 x 18.2 m) with a 22-ft. (6.7-m) hull depth, the vessel's mass and design allow it to work in higher seas, while providing impressive tankage below deck. A common feature of the Hornbeck vessels is Dynamic Positioned (DP) navigation systems. Dynamic positioning was first developed to help keep drill ships precisely over the well they were drilling regardless of wind and sea state. All of the recently built Hornbeck vessels have DP-2 capability that calls for independent bow and stern thrusters each driven by a separate power source. Vessel positioning variables such as wind, and sea state are fed into a central comput- er that feeds information to the main engines and the thrusters to keep the vessel on station and can do so even if there is a single point failure on one of the thrusters or main engines.

Other stories from April 2002 issue


Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.