BP has placed an ordered for four new platform support vessels (PSVs) to support its operations in the North Sea, specifically in West of Shetland (WoS) and Norway. The company says the purpose-built vessels are designed, and will be managed, to provide long-term support to its North Sea business by promoting safety, efficiency, crew retention and spill response.
Performance and safety, BP says, will be paramount as the vessels will have dedicated crews on long term hire, something the company hopes will minimize turnover and enhance familiarity with BP’s processes.
On-board, the vessels will have dedicated oil spill response capability and special tanks to transport fluids required for planned enhanced oil recovery (EOR) systems.
The announcement is also positive news for the local economies in Scotland and Norway, as nearly 80% of the total project and operating costs will be spent there. The operating and maintenance work will be locally supplied and officers and crew will be UK and Norwegian qualified mariners. The vessels’ operators will support seafarer’s development by sponsoring personnel through their professional qualifications, including an Officer Cadet training scheme.
Although not mentioned in the press release, the vessels appear to be of Rolls-Royce’s popular UT 776 CD design and reported to be worth more than $200 million.
“This is a significant investment in BP’s North Sea marine capability and will bring a number of business and local benefits from late 2013 onwards,” said Mark Hardie, UK Logistics Manager for BP’s North Sea Region. “The UK dedicated vessels will be based and maintained in Aberdeen.” The vessels are expected to be delivered between the winter of 2013 and summer of 2014.
The order is structured so that BP Shipping has contracted Hyundai to build the vessels and then hire them to BP Exploration Operating Company on a 15 year bareboat term charter, which is consistent with BP’s strategy for marine offshore supply vessels. The structure is consistent with BP’s strategy for marine offshore supply vessels that promotes vessel ownership where long term ‘life of field’ can be demonstrated.
Trevor Garlick, Regional President for BP North Sea, said, “Our long term commitment to the North Sea gives us the confidence to make major investments in vital support services. These new vessels will provide BP with a number of safety and commercial benefits, as well as allow for the greater deployment of technology. Improving our capability to recover more oil from our reservoirs is crucial to the future of the North Sea.”
BP is investing $10 billion over the next five years in the North Sea – including major projects in the UK and in Norway. Further specifications about the vessels were not mentioned.