Angola And Canada Provide Projects For Smit Pioneer
Smit Pioneer, the first of Smit International's new class of multipurpose offshore installation vessels, has been busy in its first few months of service. This vessel is one of four former LASH barge carriers purchased by Smit over the past two years. Three of the dock-type vessels are operating successfully in the global heavy transportation market. Smit Pioneer, however, was converted at a U.K. yard for the offshore installation and cablelay roles.
Immediately following sea trials and commissioning, Smit Pioneer sailed to Le Trait, France, last October to load for a subsea installation program in the Kuito Field, offshore Angola, under a contract won by Smit Maritime Contractors. Smit Pioneer has now commenced a 105-day charter for subsea installation work in Canadian waters. Once again, the vessel loaded at Le Trait, on the Seine, for departure to the Terra Nova Field, offshore Newfoundland. The assignment began earlier this month. The client for both Angola and Canada is Coflexip Stena Offshore. In the former case, Smit Pioneer installed flexibles in the Kuito Field, together with buoyancy tanks and counterweights required for the mid-water arches. This work was associated with the first phase of the fast-track Kuito development. The spread mobilized for the subsea works includes a 66 ft. (20 m) diameter carousel and the Coflexip VLS (Vertical Lay System), positioned at the aft moonpool. A 20 x 20 ft. (6 x 6 m) moonpool plug was engineered, to ensure that the radius of the flexibles remained within the specified parameters. Smit Pioneer is a unique offshore installation vessel, outfitted to remain on station for extended periods. There is accommodation for a minimum of 80 persons, including 50 project personnel. Equipment includes an advanced DP system, two moonpools, a fully heave-compensated revolving crane (rated 150 tons dynamic load), an overhead crane and a Super Puma-capable helideck. The primary operational roles include the installation of moorings for FPSO's, diverless tieins, well servicing, flexlay, manifold and riser installation, ROV support and cablelay. The spread required for Terra Nova includes 12 reels, the Coflexip VLS (installed at the forward moonpool), a trencher and an ROV. The Coflexip contract is Smit's second award connected with Terra Nova — the first development in Canadian waters to require an FPSO. Smit Transport & Heavy Lift is to provide heavy lift services during the outfitting of the FPSO (a newbuild from Daewoo, Korea) at the Bull Arm facility. This program of lifts will be performed next month by Asian Hercules II (3,200 tons lift capacity) — the largest floating sheerlegs in the Smit fleet. Smit Pioneer's task is to trench and lay flexibles in the field, 350 km off St John's Newfoundland. Water depth on location is 312 ft. (95 m). Petro-Canada is the Project Operator. Drilling began in June of last year.
In recent months, an additional role has been identified for Smit Pioneer — as an all-weather surface platform for Smit's POLREC (Pollutant Recovery) system, developed to pump out oils and chemicals from wrecks. The need of an all-weather surface platform was identified following the loss of the tanker Erika off France last December. Smit used POLREC successfully in an awardwinning project to pump out Bunker C cargoes from two small tankers lost off the Korean port of Busan. In these cases, the POLREC diverless recovery system pumped the oil to a barge equipped with reception facilities.