New Lift and Deployment System from Deep Blue Engineering

Posted by Eric Haun
Thursday, May 01, 2014
courtesy Deep Blue Engineering

Remotely operated Lift & Deployment System Reduces Costs, Improves Efficiency & Enhances Safety Subsea

Deep Blue Engineering UK Ltd, a specialist engineering design and development company serving the international marine, oil, gas and renewable energy industries, announced the introduction of the Shuttle Sub. The new lift and deployment system is a large payload-carrying, remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

Developed for companies involved in subsea operations, the Shuttle Sub offers an efficient and cost-effective way to deploy heavy payloads - such as cables and umbilicals - to and from the seabed. It is used to install and retrieve equipment, lay cable and conduct salvage operations. Even when laden with a payload of 100 metric tons, the buoyant-controlled Shuttle Sub can float, dive, surface and maintain neutral buoyancy, so it is ideally suited for work being carried out in deepwater environments on – or near - the seabed.

Deep Blue's long-term objectives for this technology are diverse. “The Shuttle Sub is essentially an ROV in its own right, but it combines this with a transport function,” said David Webster, Managing Director of Deep Blue Engineering. “The vast majority of deployment operations are conducted from the surface, using ships with cranes, which has limitations. Shuttle Sub offers an alternative. Eighty percent of our planet is covered with water. In the future, offshore industries will migrate into the vast, deeper and more remote areas where there is currently no activity. Whether installing generating equipment, laying cables, mining, conducting exploration or salvage operations, the industry needs a safe, efficient transport capability - a delivery vehicle - and the Shuttle Sub fulfils that role.”

It is the first lift and deployment system of its kind. It does not require an additional ROV to conduct visual monitoring or connector installation activities subsea. Instead, technicians on a support vessel carry out these tasks remotely. As with a conventional ROV, they monitor and control subsea activities via an umbilical between the Shuttle Sub and the vessel at the surface. Where the Shuttle Sub is unique is that it is also the payload carrier, transferring deployment and retrieval tasks to the ROV. This provides optimum control and removes the need for lift line-based operations. It also removes the loads from cables and umbilicals during deployment when they are suspended between the vessel at the surface and the seabed. The Shuttle Sub performs all of the functions of a work class ROV, but is large enough to accommodate a payload that would normally be deployed or retrieved from a ship. In addition, deployment is very accurate when using the Shuttle Sub because equipment or cable can be placed
into position as opposed to working with the lift line, which makes accurate positioning difficult.

During the coming months, Deep Blue Engineering will submit the first Shuttle Sub to rigorous testing. The company is keen to form a joint venture with an umbilical manufacturer in order to fast track development through to commercialization of the technology for cable and umbilical deployment. "An umbilical manufacturer with exclusive access to this technology will be capable of offering lighter weight umbilicals for deepwater applications, and steel tube flying leads that are tens of kilometers in length, with the potential for simultaneous deployment and trenching,” said Webster. “This will provide them with a major differentiator and massive advantage within the global market,” he added.

For those involved in subsea cable- and umbilical-laying, the Shuttle Sub offers considerable cost-savings. When deploying cables and umbilicals from the surface, they must be capable of supporting their own weight, as well as any end termination, which dictates major aspects of their specifications, significantly increasing production costs. But because they are not deployed at surface when using the Shuttle Sub, this is not a factor. By using lightweight, low-cost hardware and smaller support vessels for umbilical and cable deployment, costs are dramatically reduced.

This advantage also extends to maintaining installed equipment. For example, when a cable within an umbilical is suffering IR issues, it is relatively straightforward to install a single, new cable and create a bypass arrangement. In addition, periodic maintenance operations of, for example, subsea processing equipment is easier, with the Shuttle Sub providing a platform to work from, transporting replacement consumables, and retrieving the parts to be changed out. This is completed in a single operation.

Finally, in the event of a catastrophic subsea blowout or pipeline breach, heavy cutting and capping equipment can be swiftly deployed into deepwater for intervention purposes. This is especially important because it is currently not possible to 'fly' this special equipment from a remotely positioned rig or vessel. The central environmental benefit lies in the system’s ability to facilitate intervention in deepwater remotely, allowing complex operations, such as sealing pipelines or damaged, uncontrolled subsea wells.

The Shuttle Sub, which will be available in two sizes, has a payload capacity of 50 metric tons and 100 metric tons. The vehicle itself weighs slightly less than its payload capacity, and uses a “cartridge-based” carrying system similar to the container method used in the shipping industry. A crane mounted on the support vessel lifts the empty Shuttle Sub into the sea, followed by the payload cartridge, which is lowered into the Shuttle Sub. Different cartridges are designed for different applications. For example, cartridge variants currently include a reel for laying cable, a drum for deploying long steel tube flying leads, and lifting equipment for salvage operations. Future plans include the intervention and capping capability, and a cartridge with a subsea drilling capability. The current design can be deployed in water depths to 1,500 meters. Deep Blue plans to develop a Shuttle Sub capable of working at 3,000 meters, followed by greater depths in the future.

The first set of wet trials will take place in Q4 2014. Deep Blue will use a reduced scale Shuttle Sub prototype. Even so, the prototype has a payload capacity of four metric tons, and is one of the largest ROVs in the world.

deepblueengineering.co.uk
 

  • courtesy Deep Blue Engineering

    courtesy Deep Blue Engineering

Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Technology

New Standard for LNG Cargo Containment Systems

Wilhelmsen Technical Solutions (WTS) said it has successfully completing the gas trial for the first LNG carrier built to a Boil Off Rate (BOR) of 0.08% per day.

Corvus Gains Support from WINN Initiative

Corvus Energy announced today the award of $1.3 million in repayable assistance from the Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative for its project to further develop the Corvus Energy Storage System.

Northrop Grumman Sponsors Maritime RobotX Challenge

Northrop Grumman Corporation is expanding its support for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education across the globe by sponsoring the Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore, Oct.

Marine Equipment

New Standard for LNG Cargo Containment Systems

Wilhelmsen Technical Solutions (WTS) said it has successfully completing the gas trial for the first LNG carrier built to a Boil Off Rate (BOR) of 0.08% per day.

Twin Disc Offers Virtual and Real EJS Experience

Visitors to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, October 30–November 3, 2014, can experience what it’s like to control a diesel-powered, conventional driveline

Messer to Debut MetalMaster Xcel

Messer Cutting Systems said it has answered the call from manufacturers that have been demanding a faster, more accurate way of producing cut parts. Messer’s

Unmanned Vehicles

Northrop Grumman Sponsors Maritime RobotX Challenge

Northrop Grumman Corporation is expanding its support for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education across the globe by sponsoring the Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore, Oct.

Saipem in Subsea Deal with Chiyoda, Xodus

Italian oil service group Saipem said on Thursday it had set up a venture with energy consultant Xodus Group and Japanese engineering company Chiyoda to develop business in the subsea sector.

Underwater Engineering

Boskalis Consortium Wins Suez Canal Expansion Contract

A consortium consisting of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis), Van Oord, NMDC (Abu Dhabi) and Jan de Nul (Belgium) has acquired a contract from the Suez

Hydroid Wins Gold at MassEcon Impact Awards

Hydroid, Inc., a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime and a leading manufacturer of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), today announced that it has been named

Mærsk Deliverer's Contract extended

Cabinda Gulf Oil Company Limited, a Chevron subsidiary in Angola, has extended the current contract for the ultra deepwater semi-submersible Mærsk Deliverer expiring in June 2015 by two years.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1868 sec (5 req/sec)