Long known as a supplier of access systems for the offshore sector in Europe, UK-based Osbit recently broke into the Chinese market for the first time, and believes it has solutions that will help reduce energy costs in many other countries
October 2017 saw Osbit secure contracts that demonstrated its ability to produce cost-effective offshore access solutions whilst also developing bespoke equipment that provide solutions to project-specific challenges.
The northeast of England offshore engineering and technology company has completed its first project in the Chinese offshore wind market, successfully delivering a bespoke MaXccess crew transfer system, but also announced details of quite a different project, and announced details of quite a different project to deliver an innovative boat landing and access system that will be fitted to a jack-up accommodation vessel destined for Dong Energy’s Hornsea Project One offshore windfarm.
Speaking exclusively to OWJ, Brendon Hayward, the company’s managing director, highlighted what he described as China’s “very ambitious” offshore wind targets, along with potential opportunities in Asia, in markets such as Taiwan and Japan. However, these countries are not the full extent of the company’s export ambitions – Mr Hayward also highlighted opportunities elsewhere, such as in the Middle East, in related markets, such as offshore oil and gas.
In the Middle East, environmental conditions are more benign than in the North Sea and some other regions, Osbit’s ability to provide cost-effective solutions could come into play. In regions such as this, Mr Hayward believes, there is growing recognition that ‘bump and jump’ is no longer a satisfactory – or sufficiently safe – way of transferring personnel from boat to boat or boat to platform. Equally, said Mr Hayward, in other parts of the world, demand is growing for access solutions for vessels that can compete with helicopters for long-range personnel transfer.
“Unlike some companies in the offshore access system market, we are not seeking to be a rental company,” Mr Hayward told OWJ. “Our focus is on supplying the best possible equipment and on problem-solving for clients with specific requirements.
The Chinese deal saw Osbit deliver an improved T12 walk-to-work system that will be installed on a 20 m crew transfer vessel under construction by the Aurora Yachts shipyard in Dalian, China. The vessel will be used by State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC), one of China’s top five power suppliers, as part of its Binhai windfarm projects. Providing engineers with safe access to offshore wind turbines, the MaXccess T12 operates in 2 m significant wave height conditions. Assembled at Osbit’s facility at Port of Blyth, the T12 will is being transported to the Dalian yard where it will be installed and commissioned on the vessel with the support of a team of Osbit engineers.
The T12 is part of Osbit’s growing range of active and passive modular access systems, which support catamaran crew transfer vessels, service operation vessels (SOVs) and jack-up accommodation vessels. The project built on Osbit’s previous activity in southeast Asia, which includes a T18 MaXccess system that has been operating successfully at the Fukushima offshore windfarm in Japan for the past three years.
The innovative boat landing and access system for the Hornsea Project One offshore windfarm demonstrates another aspect of the company’s capability. It was commissioned by Aberdeen-based Gulf Marine Services (GMS) UK Ltd and will be installed on one of its self-elevating, self-propelled, dynamically positioned ‘large-class’ accommodation vessels.
GMS required the development of a system to facilitate crew transfers to and from a jacked-up vessel to crew transfer vessels and offshore substations. Utilising a unique access tower with an integrated boat landing, technicians will be able to safely access transfer vessels regardless of whether the accommodation vessel is in a floating position or has been jacked-up to a pre-determined deck height of 21 m above sea level. Osbit’s system, in accordance with GMS’ requirements, is integral to allowing work crews to remain offshore, rather than making daily trips to and from shore and will facilitate up to 50 crew transfers each day.