By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor
Shell and Santos have awarded service contracts to Viking SeaTech for work on Australia’s resource-rich North West Shelf, where considerable exploration and development of hydrocarbons is under way, especially natural gas for Australia and export to Asian markets. “Currently, Western Australia has more than $124 billion of oil- and gas-related projects committed, with the focus on the North West Shelf, with additional large projects in the Northern Territory operating out of Darwin,” said Chris Forde, managing director of Asia Pacific for Viking SeaTech, which provides engineering, mooring equipment and personnel for offshore oil and gas.
The company’s contract with Shell Development is for three years, with options for two one-year extensions, and the initial agreement with Santos is for two years and three months, with three one-year extension options. In both cases, Viking SeaTech will provide personnel, specialized mooring services and equipment and positioning services to the oil companies.
From its hub in Perth and operations base in Karratha, Viking SeaTech will provide engineers, operations managers, yard supervisors, project managers and other personnel to service operations on the North West Shelf. In-house engineering and data analysis are also done in Perth to provide operators with up-to-date information and reports in the same time zone as the operations.
The pre-laying of moorings is another key service. “For example, if an operator has multiple wells, we can pre-lay in the first set of anchors in advance of the rig’s arrival. This ensures that the anchors are set and in location and the operator can commence drilling operations once connected to the mooring lines. We then leap frog in front of the rig to its next drilling location and prelay the next set of anchors and buoy off, ready for the next rig move,” Mr Forde explained. “When the rig moves to the second location, the first set of anchors and buoys are retrieved and set on the third location and so on. This system can reduce anchoring time from 10-12 days to 3-5 days.”
Viking SeaTech also provides specialized anchors to penetrate the hard calcarenite soils often found offshore on the North West Shelf, Mr Forde noted. Well depths on the North West Shelf range from 150 meters to 1,200 meters (490-3,900 ft).
“It’s very exciting to find ourselves at the forefront of oil and gas developments that will secure the energy future of Australia and other parts of the globe,” he said. With these contract wins, Viking SeaTech now works with all the major operators in Australia, including Woodside Petroleum, Chevron, Apache, BHP Billiton and Hess. “This strengthens our position in Australia and gives confidence to new operators coming into the region that we can service the challenges associated with drilling in Western Australia, which is one of the most remote regions of the world, and where procuring large oilfield equipment is logistically difficult and there is a huge demand for personnel.”