SCF Group (Sovcomflot) and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. (Sakhalin Energy) have signed a contract for the construction and long-term operation of three multifunctional icebreaking standby vessels to serve the Sakhalin-2 offshore energy platforms.
The contract covers a 20 year term, during which the vessels will provide safe and reliable services for Sakhalin Energy’s platforms in the Sea of Okhotsk. The vessels will also assist with accommodation of the offshore facilities personnel. In an emergency, the vessels will help evacuate personnel from the offshore platforms and will provide oil spill response services when necessary.
The new contract is a continuation of the first agreement between Sovcomflot and Sakhalin Energy, signed in April 2014, for the construction of an Ice Breaking Supply Vessel (IBSV) and other memoranda of understanding between the two companies. This agreement means that SCF Group will have four IBSV vessels of this type under construction. When completed, the new vessels will increase the Group’s IBSV fleet to eight ships.
This new series of IBSV ‘standby’ vessels is a further development of the Vitus Bering series of IBSVs, whilst the design and technical parameters of the new vessels were specially modified to meet the needs of the Sakhalin-2 project. One of the main functions of the new ‘standby’ vessels will be their on-call duty in the platform area, to provide instant readiness for responding to emergency situations with the possibility of carrying an additional 150 persons onboard during evacuations.
The vessels of the series are the most energy efficient, in terms of their diesel consumption and propulsion systems. Their hulls are specially designed for stern-first navigation in icy conditions. The new ‘standby’ ISBVs are equipped with dynamic positioning systems, which help them maintain a stable position alongside offshore platforms. The ice class is enhanced from Ice10 to Ice15, which will ensure the safe navigation in one year solid ice of up to 1.5 meters thick, at a speed of 3.0 knots, and to keep working independently without becoming trapped in ice ridges of up to 4 metres thick.
The construction of these modern vessels is a joint project involving Russian and Finnish shipbuilders. The shipbuilding contract has been signed with the Russian company OAO USC. Around 90 per cent of the structural components for the vessels are to be produced in Russia, at the Vyborg Shipyard (part of OAO USC). The vessels will be equipped with navigation systems from the Russian manufacturer Transas, as well as Glonass satellite navigation systems. The ships will be registered in Russia, will be manned by Russian crews and will sail under the Russian Federation flag.
The vessels are designed in accordance with all the prevailing regulations, standards and requirements of the relevant international conventions and the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. This means they are able to operate with a high degree of environmental safety in the waters of the Far Eastern seas, which is especially important in the light of tightening environmental protection regulations.
Sergey Frank, President & CEO of Sovcomflot, said, “This agreement is a logical extension of many years of successful cooperation between Sovcomflot and Sakhalin Energy. It follows preparatory work which was undertaken by technical specialists from both sides and the Russian shipbuilders. The arrival of these three advanced vessels of their class in Sea of Okhotsk will enhance the safety of shipping in the area whilst minimizing the associated environmental risks. We are grateful to our partners for the opportunity to extend our participation in the Sakhalin-2 project, and to continue our record of providing best-practice, safe and reliable transportation services.
“SCF Group’s development strategy places a high priority on developing our operations within harsh climatic areas, involving projects and providing employment in the remote offshore areas of the Russian Arctic and Far Eastern regions. We support the participation of Russian shipbuilders in the project to deliver technologically advanced ships. Over recent years, Sovcomflot has established a successful track record in operating an IBSV fleet. Our fleet has four vessels of this kind, one of which is successfully working in Sakhalin-2. In short, we provide our clients with safe and reliable marine transportation in the harsh climatic conditions of the Sakhalin shelf”.
On the occasion of the signing the contracts Roman Dashkov, Chief Executive Officer of Sakhalin Energy, noted, “Signing of the agreements for the supply of three multifunctional vessels for the Sakhalin-2 project is the result of the successfull long term work that lasted for more than two years. We are glad to continue our cooperation with Sovkomflot, the corporation that has consistently demonstrated its status as a reliable and competent partner. Sakhalin Energy strives to maximize Russian content in the Sakhalin-2 project. Today we have signed the contracts for the supply of icebreaking standby vessels that are designed in accordance with all Russian and international standards of safety of navigation”.
Currently Sakhalin-2 employs six Sovcomflot vessels, including three Aframax type shuttle tankers, two LNG gas carriers and one IBSV.