Co-innovation as a road to safer and more efficient offshore transfer
On Thursday June 27th, representatives of several high-profile companies gathered at the Offshore Boarding production facility at PTS Machinery in Hulst, The Netherlands, for a co-innovation session. The main objective of the event was to discuss possible ways to innovate and improve the safety and efficiency of offshore transfer. Participants of the Offshore Boarding co-innovation session represented leading offshore companies, including Allseas Engineering, Bluestream, Crossings Advisory, Deme Group, Enersea, FMJ Group, Lloyd’s Register, Scaldis Salvage and Marine Contractors NV, Subsea 7 and Van Oord.
Current status of offshore transfer and impact on offshore operations
The first topic on the agenda was the current status of offshore transfer and the impact of different transfer modes on offshore operations in terms of efficiency, safety and cost. The main drivers for offshore transfers such as installations, operations, maintenance and decommissioning were discussed and the attendees were positive about the sector’s future. After the downturn that started in 2014, the facility CAPEX and production OPEX for oil and gas structures were expected to bottom out in 2018 and the forecast is that this will rise by 51% by the year 2025. Also, the number of offshore wind turbines worldwide is expected to increase by 69% by 2025, as calculated by Rysted and 4COffshore, without taking into consideration offshore solar and offshore hydrogen developments.
It was clear to all participants that the current modes of offshore transfer of people and cargo like helicopters, swing ropes, boat landings, crew baskets and gangways, each have their strengths and weaknesses. Strengths and weaknesses were considered and discussed, as the consensus was that there is an urgent need for safer, more efficient and less expensive solutions.
More specifically, areas for improvement of current crew baskets were perceived to be the quality of the basket, the (secure) landing process and the connection. For gangways, specific opportunities for improvement are cost, the square footage of deck space utilized, workability, % uptime and the limited ability to transfer cargo.
As the discussion evolved, other topics were enthusiastically brought to the fore, including standardization of tooling, which seems difficult to achieve. Diversity in access solutions is here to stay, as various circumstances require customized solutions and optimized workability requires choosing the right solution for the specific situation.
When utilizing offshore access solutions, feeling safe and unconstricted is important. This is especially the case during the landing process. However, people working in renewables or in the oil and gas industry may have a different perception of safety.
Decommissioning is a different animal compared to installation and maintenance operations. The landing aspect at a remote, unmanned platform comes with special requirements.
In general, current offshore access solutions were perceived as either not very advanced or expensive. We stand to gain by upgrading cheaper solutions to the next level. As long as solutions comply with an established minimum safety standard, workability and other factors become more important when selecting the right offshore transfer solutions.
Live demonstrations of the latest Offshore Boarding innovations
Following the open discussions, which led to many new ideas and insights, Offshore Boarding provided live demonstrations of its latest innovations. A test environment was set up to simulate offshore conditions.
Offshore boarding focuses its engineering capabilities on the main weaknesses of existing solutions. Some general design principles that Offshore Boarding engineering follows are ‘hands-free’ connections, secure landing of crews, secure landing and ‘hands-free’ sea-fastening of cargo. Optimal workability and optimized uptime while balancing cost provide guidance to these design principles. All Offshore Boarding’s innovations are designed, produced and certified as a prototype version 1.0 by Lloyds. Several international patents have been granted to Offshore Boarding for its innovations.
More information on the innovations that Offshore Boarding demonstrated can be found on www.offshoreboarding.com.
The benefits of Offshore Boarding’s latest innovations were well-received. Especially the ‘hands-free’ advanced ball-and-catch release mechanism and guiding mechanisms for secure landing were seen as important steps forward in terms of workability, safety and transfer times.
Co-innovation in a trusted partnership
The final point on the agenda, just ahead of the networking session, was how to drive innovations though partnership. Co-innovation partnership was discussed in terms of specific objectives and intentions. Special attention was given to the evaluation and optimization process while co-innovating, from a technical as well as a financial (business case) perspective. The best way to arrange global support and maintenance during testing stages was addressed. During the networking part, the attendees clearly recognized the potential benefits of a joint effort in innovation.
Interested in innovating offshore transfer?
If you are interested in more information about the outcome(s) of this co-innovation discussion or if you’d like to participate in future innovation sessions, please contact Yvette Ruivenkamp, co-owner of Offshore Boarding through +31 6 49 67 39 01 or