Viking SeaTech completes delivery of key North Sea asset

31st October 2016

Mooring and marine service specialist Viking SeaTech completed its first major marine consultancy project in the North Sea, by delivering the safe transit of Ithaca Energy’s FPF-1 floating production facility (FPF) from Poland to location in the Greater Stella Area.

Following a programme of modification works in the Remontowa yard in Gdansk, Poland, Viking SeaTech’s marine team was contracted to perform the 700 nautical mile tow and hook-up in the Central North Sea.

It became the first time Viking SeaTech called on its official alliance with Seacroft Marine Consultants. Seacroft supplied contract marine representatives and a towmaster for the rig move phase of the project.

The operation took several months of onshore planning and four weeks of offshore project management to deliver. It involved a two vessel parallel tow, utilising polyethylene tow lines for towing of the FPF, and negotiation of a narrow shipping channel in the Baltic Sea.

John Dick, North Sea Region Business Leader, at Viking SeaTech, said: “We were involved in one of the highest profile projects currently ongoing in the UK Continental Shelf and were pleased to advise on the marine aspects of the tow and deliver the unit on time without incident.

“We provided marine support and reviewed procedures ahead of the tow and hook-up schedule.”

The rig, measuring 82 metres by 75 metres, was towed through the Drogden Channel in Danish waters using two main anchor handling vessels (AHV) and two support tugs. The channel, which is used by more than 30,000 ships per year, is only 300 metres wide and crucially the maximum draft permitted is less than eight metres.

Mr Dick added: “On board the FPF-1, the VST offshore team worked closely with all parties involved, including the AHV crews and the FPF-1 marine supervisor, to ensure sufficient keel clearance was maintained as we negotiated the 10km long channel.

“Once in the UKCS, we used a pre-planned tug strategy to move the FPF to an exact position within the field. It was hooked up to 12 pre-set mooring lines and is now set to begin its production activities.

“The constant dialogue between all parties, including the position keeping and hook up vessels, the duty holder and Ithaca itself, was vital.”

The polyethylene ropes wires were selected for the tow for ease of removal after hook-up. The use of these ropes instead of chain and wire in the towing bridal lowered risks generated in the manual handling process during connection and provided additional protection to subsea assets in case of any failure.

The Greater Stella Area Field is one of the current positives for the UKCS, with first hydrocarbons due this year.