Raising the bar
Based in Stavanger, SeaMetric provides heavy-lift and supporting engineering services to the exploration and production, construction, and transportation sectors of the energy industry worldwide.
The business was formed in 2000 with the purpose of developing an innovative, cost-effective and environmentally friendly marine heavy lift system. The first six years of the company’s life were spent developing the idea and raising funds until 2006, when SeaMetric put its plan into practise and began to build the Twin Marine Lifter (TML) heavy lift system.
The TML is specially designed for the installation and removal of extremely heavy objects such as platform topside and jackets with weights of up to 20,000 tonnes. It specialises in the installation and removal of marine structures, and the transportation of heavy objects. This in-depth understanding of marine operations allows SeaMetric to provide substantial knowledge and expertise to its customers.
Bob Browning, director of commercial services, describes how the system works: “The TML is essentially made up of two vessels, operating side by side. The vessels are each 140 metres long, 40 metres wide, semi-submersible (at depths of up to 20 metres) and dynamic positioning means they are self-propelled. Each vessel has four lifting arms, which lift the object from underneath. Each TML system will be supported by a transport vessel, which we are currently developing. The transport vessel is slightly longer at 180 metres and will move platform components to the offshore location. Once the components have arrived, the TML lifts them off and installs them on the sub-structure.
“The key element of the system is that it doesn’t require a crane. Most of the lifting work currently carried out offshore is done using large crane barges; the constraints of these are the high cost of operation and the limitations it puts on the design of the platform topside, as it must fit under the crane. As ours lifts from underneath, there is no such restriction to the topside. The other key point about the TML is its use of existing technology; through the inventive combination of already proven technologies, it has demonstrated a new and innovative use for existing equipment.”
Once the system is put into action during 2010 SeaMetric will aim to achieve global recognition for the system. The company will participate in ‘best-in-class’ constellations of reliable operational partners and contractors for the execution of marine projects worldwide, with the ultimate aim of becoming a key international player in the offshore heavy lift and transportation markets.
The TML system offers reduced energy consumption and emissions, in addition to an improved safety level. It is also highly cost-effective when compared to traditional crane barges; this allows SeaMetric to offer it at a competitive price. The reduced costs are due to shorter preparation and operation time, flexibility in terms of weight, dimensions and configuration, as well as functionality and versatility. The first TML System is currently under construction in China by Petro China’s CPLEC shipyard (the former Liaohe shipyard). Steel cutting commenced in April 2008 and the OEC shipyard is committed to delivering the vessels by the fourth quarter of 2009.
Bob outlines the expected market reception of the TML system when it is launched: “We don’t believe that the current financial difficulties with the oil price will affect the opportunities for our system. As long as the oil companies are installing and removing platforms, then they will always need lifting work carried out. As long as we are competitive, which we will be, there will be plenty of contracts for us to take up. Our current challenge is to bring the system to the market; it has become even more challenging over the last few months because of the financial situation. However, once we bring it to the market, it will bring about a reduction of the capital expenditure of the oil companies, which is a huge bonus.
“Our mission is to demonstrate our system, so that when oil companies are carrying out their front-end studies for new fields and facilities, they consider our lifting system as a potential installation tool. We are now looking for opportunities to showcase the TML, the next of which is the OTC, which is a good chance to meet lots of potential customers and show them what the TML can do.”
He continues: “Our long-term goal is to build five systems and strategically place them around the world; specifically we want to expand into the Far East, Latin America, Europe, North America and South East Asia.” Within the offshore oil and gas industry, the TML system will considerably increase competition and the capacity of heavylift vessels. As an innovative alternative to the existing fleet of conventional lift vessels and with its ability to install and remove a broad range of structures, the new system looks set to make SeaMetric the leading provider of heavy lifting systems in the future.
SeaMetric International AS
Services Lifting systems