Aker Marine Contractors (AMC) of Houston and Marlow Ropes have
successfully executed a deep water test to demonstrate and prove the use of new mooring components for ultra-deepwater station keeping applications
for mobile offshore drilling units. It is expected this technology will permit drilling units to be moored in as much as 10,000 ft. of water using similar components.
The test involved the successful installation of AMC's new Suction Embedded Plate Anchor (SEPLA) and Marlow's torque-matched polyester rope by AMC and Vastar at Vastar's Mississippi Canyon Block 126, Horn Mountain Prospect in 5,300 ft. of water.
The SEPLA and polyester rope section were deployed from AMC's new state-of-the-art anchor handling construction vessel Cal Dive Aker Dove, as a preset mooring in about 5,000 ft. of water. After completion of installation, the mooring components were load tested to about 350 tons using both Cal Dive Aker Dove and Seacor's new anchor handling vessel, Seacor Vanguard.
The SEPLA required only 1.5 hours to reach full embedment of approximately 85 ft., using suction techniques activated from the Oceaneering Millennium
ROV. The new polyester rope was deployed from the vessel without incident. The mooring was then connected to Diamond Offshore's drilling unit Ocean Victory to substitute for one of the conventional mooring legs.
The mooring will remain in service for the duration of the well, after which it will be disconnected from the rig, recovered and taken to shore for extensive inspection, loading testing and analysis.