Transocean’s Deepwater Millennium vessel recently left the Port of Ngqura near Port Elizabeth after undergoing a number of upgrades and modifications by DCD Marine. The Deepwater Millennium vessel is a Samsung/Reading & Bates designed, dynamically positioned drillship capable of drilling in water depths up to 2.468 m (upgradable to 3.048 m) and to depths of 10 000 m below the sea surface.
DCD Marine has an established track record with regard to upgrades of a similar magnitude on vessels in the same class. Not only were they able to competently and expeditiously carry out the specified work packages, but they also have experience in working in the Port of Ngqura, having recently completed work on the Odfjell Drilling Rig, Deepsea Stavanger.
The Port of Ngqura was selected due to the fact that, not only it is on the direct path of the Deepwater Millennium’s final destination in Mozambique, but also because it has a draft of 16 m, which is suited to the vessel’s minimum required depth of 15 m.
“Transocean were amply satisfied with the facilities made available by DCD Marine to undertake the required modifications,” says Gerry Klos – General Manager of DCD Marine.
The Deepwater Millennium arrived in port on 16 November 2011. Work then began in earnest on the project, which was carefully scheduled between the completion of the vessel’s last contract and the commencement of its new contract off the Mozambiquan coastline.
The scope of the project included the manufacture and installation of new lifeboat davits and the lifeboat platforms. DCD Marine was also responsible for the painting and coating of the decks and the installation of temporary living quarters (TLQ).
On a more technical level, DCD Marine installed a reverse osmosis system for the supply of fresh water; installed HiPAP (High Precision Acoustic Positioning) valves and replaced sea valves and pipes. In addition to the original work specified in the tender, DCD Marine was also awarded a number of smaller work packages as the project advanced.
DCD Marine is no stranger to adverse and challenging working conditions as is evidenced by its project portfolio over the years. “We firmly believe in approaching each project with a high degree of enthusiasm and professionalism. We evaluate the specific challenges and requirements of each project and find innovative ways of tackling any issues that may arise both before the project starts as well as during its active stages,” says Klos.
Both Klos and John Hill, Project Manager at Transocean agree that the timing of the project in itself proved challenging. “This is without a doubt the most difficult time of the year to ensure that employees remain motivated, as most people are winding down their working year and embarking on annual leave. However, we managed to keep on track and our employees did a sterling job in spite of this. Underlining their commitment to working hard and smart, the team managed to achieve an extremely commendable zero-injury rating for the duration of the project,” says Klos.
A total of 372 571 man hours was clocked on the project and included 110 751 directly from DCD Marine’s employees; 98 428 hours from DCD-appointed sub-contractors and 163 392 hours from Transocean and Transocean-appointed sub-contractors. A total of 1 661 people underwent induction in order to prepare them for the expected challenges on the project
“Another challenge we faced was the mobilization of our workforce and workshop facilities to a remote location outside Port Elizabeth. In spite of the fact that we worked from temporary, mobile facilities we were still able to maintain the high levels of quality work that DCD Marine is synonymous with in this tough and competitive industry,” Klos adds.
Klos points out that the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is very strict about the environmental implications of having vessels/rigs in the Port and environmental surveys were conducted prior to vessel arrival and for the duration of the project. “There was regular liaison between the Ports Environmental Officials, DCD Marine and Transocean to ensure that the required regulations were adhered to and that the stipulated parameters were not exceeded. We were very impressed with the Port Manager, Captain Chetty, and his staff on the professional services rendered by them and the positive contribution they made in ensuring a successful project. ” says Klos.
Klos also added that the representative unions, NUMSA and UASA, supported the project from the word ‘go’, and played a major role in ensuring a safe, stable and productive workforce during the course of the project.
A month prior to vessel arrival, the Transocean project team spent time at the recently upgraded A-Berth facility in the Port of Cape Town before relocating to the Port of Ngqura. “The revamp of the A-Berth facility is a positive move and is conducive to oil and gas industry projects in terms of the facilities available, such as the laydown area and offices,” says Hill.
“Working with DCD was a positive experience. They displayed good management of the project as a whole. I have a lot of respect for the Project Team and would not hesitate to recommend DCD Marine as the main contractor on our next rig/vessel upgrade. In addition, I would be more than happy to use the Port of Ngqura as the destination port,” Hill concludes.
DCD Marine (a division of the DCD Group), is a safe, responsible shipyard with a proven track record in providing reliable, quality, world class services and facilities to the oil and gas sectors. The yard has extensive steel and pipe fabrication capacity for industrial, offshore and subsea markets.
Shipbuilding Tribune Staff, February 28, 2012; Image: DCD Marine