Oceaneering Pioneers Advanced Deepwater Solutions for the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry

Deep impact

Oceaneering is a global leader in providing goods and services for the offshore oil and gas industry, particularly in the field of deepwater applications and solutions.

The company was founded in 1964 in the Gulf of Mexico as an air and mixed gas diving business, and has since developed into an advanced applied technology organisation, through both organic innovations and strategic acquisitions.

The company is involved in a wide range of areas, ranging from remotely operated vehicle (ROV) activities, inspection and integrity management and subsea umbilical controls production. Oceaneering also has its very own specialised deepwater technical solutions division, which focuses on two major areas – these being subsea engineering and intervention tool design and rental.

The ROVs that Oceaneering works with are part of the Hydra series, with the Hydra Magnum representing the core of the company’s fleet of vehicles. These are notable for their easy maintenance and reliability, and are able to perform in severe weather conditions at water depths of up to 10,000 feet of sea water (fsw). The Hydra series range also includes the Minimum, Millennium, and Maxximum models – the latter of which is a dual manipulator 300 hp ROV system. This is the more powerful of the Hydra models and it can lift up to 3000 lbs. It also possesses a direct fibre optic link that connects the control console to the vehicle as the primary transition path for all video and data signals. The video output and bandwidth for the sensors is of the highest quality, and tooling control is carried out through external to main telemetry to achieve even flight and tooling control with the best possible flexibility and efficiency.

Oceaneering is also heavily involved with emergency intervention tooling, which includes various pipeline repair tooling devices as well as retrofit clamps for sand detection monitoring. This sector also features pressure clamp removal tools as well, which are designed, built and tested from scratch in just three weeks.

Established in 1977, the company’s umbilical controls production division, Oceaneering’s Multiflex, is the global leader in its field, with over 25 years of experience in supplying umbilical controls to the offshore oil and gas industry. These are manufactured using thermoplastic hoses, electric cables, high collapse resistant flexible pipes, steel tubes and hybrid combinations for all types of subsea systems.

Dave McKechnie, the deepwater technical solutions manager for the company’s eastern hemisphere activities, explains why Oceaneering stands out from its competitors: “We can offer a one-stop service or solution through each individual department, with the capability to provide a vast amount of resources and support from the group level.” It is through these strengths that the company has been able to continuously develop its operations abroad, which includes those currently underway in Africa. He elaborates: “We are heavily involved in Angola and Nigeria, mainly in tooling provision and maintenance. Also, we have been providing additional support to deepwater activities through our ROV operations there.”

Africa is not the only major area of interest for Oceaneering at the moment, and the company has several projects underway in Europe as well, with a strong focus on the North Sea at present. Dave discusses the current strategy in this area: “We are particularly involved in decommissioning activities through companies such as North West Hutton and Ekofisk, for customers like Heerema. The North Sea is certainly an area that has seen a resurgence of activity recently, and we are well-poised to provide the major support tooling and services for the companies that operate there.”

In March of last year, Oceaneering acquired GTO Subsea AS, a company that provides specialised subsea dredging and excavation equipment for rental. GTO’s equipment includes several ROV units and equipment used for the subsea suction, transport and disposal of sand, rock and clay. These are especially useful in ocean floor construction, decommissioning and drill support activities for offshore oil and gas exploration and production. IFOKUS AS is an Oceaneering company developing the all electric subsea actuators, and the associated power bank systems to operate them.

Future expansion will be both organic and through acquisition is a strategy that Oceaneering continues to promote as the market consolidates, as Dave explains: “Our deepwater operations are expanding all the time around the globe, and we are looking at future potential in areas such as the West of Shetland to Faroe Islands and the Mediterranean, as well as other African countries such as Ghana. Within Europe, we believe that more and more opportunities will continue to present themselves, especially with regards to decommissioning activities.”

Looking ahead, the company takes measures to ensure it finds the right people for the job, and keeping that staff loyal. Dave elaborates: “It is vital not only that we employ the best possible candidates for the job, but also keep our staff well-trained, well-enthused and supported. That’s one of the main challenges – keeping a strong, loyal team, and we certainly don’t want to lose anyone at the moment. We do this by offering both interesting and comprehensive training that really gets our staff involved not just in waste elimination, but also in all of the other key features that we cover. It is their involvement that is crucial in achieving success in these areas.”

Oceaneering’s strategy for the future will be upheld, regardless of the current financial situation, and Dave’s outlook is positive. He concludes: “We are living in challenging times, but with these challenges there often comes great opportunities. The company is so used to working to maximum capacity and now that we have a slight slow-down in activity, it gives us the chance to really take stock of the business and assess areas that we previously had no time to look at. For instance, we have started to get more involved with our waste elimination and work on continuously improving this area of our business, to benefit the environment as best we can. It also presents us with more time to enhance our individual safety training, and focus on other core processes that we utilise in our everyday business. We see this era as a brief respite before we get ready to grasp the first opportunities that come along.”


Services: Deepwater applications and solutions