IE Profits from Offshore Focus

Monday, June 26, 2006
As Intelligent Engineering (IE) prepares to carry out another drilling rig repair using its SPS Overlay technology in the reinstatement of the pipe-rack deck on board the Pride South Atlantic, a semi-submersible unit belonging to Pride International, the company's recent focus on the offshore sector is clearly paying dividends.

Work on board the Pride South Atlantic, commencing in early July, is the latest in a series of new offshore contracts and will involve the reinstatement of a 490 sq. m. deck area to be carried out at the Maua Jurong facility in Niteroi, close to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

"We have deliberately targeted the offshore sector for a number of reasons," said SPS Overlay Director Denis Welch. "One, a significant percentage of the world's mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) are 20 years old or more and require steel upgrades and reinstatements. Two, day rates are high and operators are keen to extend the lives of these older units with minimal disruption. And three, growing concern over the impact resistance of pontoons and decks in light of last year's hurricane season provides an ideal opportunity for us to promote the excellent properties of our Sandwich Plate System."

IE has also recently completed a deck reinstatement on board the semi-submersible Atwood Seahawk at the Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Sdn. Bhd. facility in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia. This project, the company's first in Malaysia, was for U.S. drilling contractor Atwood Oceanics Inc. of Houston, Texas.

Meanwhile, GlobalSantaFe is pleased with work recently completed by IE at Kiewit Offshore Services in Ingleside, Texas to reinforce areas of the lower pontoons, located above the four thruster rooms on board the semi-submersible drilling rig Development Driller 1. The company has now signed up for similar reinforcement work to be carried out on the pontoons of a newbuild rig, currently under construction at Keppel FELS in Singapore.

"We are very pleased with the increased level of lower hull watertight integrity produced by the application of the SPS Overlay to the pontoon tops in way of all four thrusters rooms,” said Mike Kucharski, Director of GlobalSantaFe's Semi submersible Building Program. “IE's team did a good job of integrating and working with the GSF and Kiewit site teams to ensure that the work went smoothly. The low risk associated with the application procedure made it a perfect solution for our requirements with regard to timely execution".

Other contracts completed by IE in the offshore sector include structural reinstatement and strengthening of FPSOs while they remain on station. The company's "no hotwork" repair procedures for such craft are attracting considerable attention from a number of FPSO operators. "Many converted FPSOs were elderly single-hull tankers in the first place," said Welch. "They may be expected to remain on station for anything up to 20 years.Taking them off to a repair yard is simply not an option."

Meanwhile, in a contract with a leading European operator, the first of two offshore supply vessels has recently been fitted with a special impact-resistant fender in hull areas prone to damage from deck-crane cargo handling. And IE is working with Monaco-based Single Buoy Moorings on a study of FPSO side shell collision protection using SPS Technology. The study will determine if SPS can provide equivalent protection to double-hulled construction currently mandated under Marpol regulations.

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