By: Leandi Kolver
25th January 2008
The company has been developing marine mining technology for the marine diamond mining industry since 1993, and has made the strategic decision to expand its focus area by adapting its subsea-crawler, launch and recovery and mooring system technology, and has developed a multireel-drive system for laying pipelines and umbilicals for the oil and gas industry.
The multireel-drive system has been developed to act as an alternative to the standard single-reel drive system, or carousel, which is being used on lay vessels to lay pipelines.
“A reel-drive system is part of the lay system which is used to lay pipes and umbilicals between the wellheads located on the seafloor, in water depths up to 3 000 m, and the processing facilities located on land. The pipes and umbilicals are supplied on large diameter reels (typically 9-m diameters).
“The single-reel drive system cannot accept the preloaded product supplied on large diameter reels. The system requires the product to be transferred from the large diameter reels onto the carousel while in port, taking typically three to four days,” says MMP MD Rodney Norman.
The multireel-drive system allows for as many as ten preloaded reels to be loaded in two rows of five, and the drive system moves from reel to reel rather than loading the reel into the reel-drive system.
“There is no difference in the way pipe and umbilicals are laid on the seafloor by either system. The advantage of the multireel-drive system is the unique handling and storage of ten preloaded reels and the turnaround time in port,” he adds.
A multireel-drive system, valued at R50-million, was recently developed for the Normand7 vessel, which Norman says, shortens the current time of loading new reels at the port from between three and four days, to 24 hours.
While still being fairly new in the deep-sea oil and gas industry, MMP has embarked on various projects.
“MMP recently secured a contract to build a dive-handling system for the Atlantic7, a new-build diver support vessel. We examined the suitability of the traditional dive-handling system and found ways to improve on it. This resulted in tighter integration into the vessel and reduction in operational complexity,” says Norman.
MMP has developed diamond mining technology for mining on the ocean floor through the use of a remote subsea-crawler. This technology, and specifically the launch and recovery system, was designed for handling 300-t crawlers. The multireel-drive system is similar to the mining system developed for De Beers mining vessel Peace in Africa, and can be adapted to suit several opportunities in the deep-sea oil and gas industry.
“The subsea-crawler technology, together with its launch-and-recovery system can be used for clearing the sea bed down to bedrock for glory holes and, cleaning up the sea bed after drilling is completed. The heavy lift launch-and-recovery system can be adapted to place wellheads on the seabed.
“Additionally, our subsea-crawlers can also be adapted for cutting trenches,” Norman concludes.
Edited by: Terence Creamer