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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

TAP pipeline complete, Shell robot survey ships, new trends in OSVs, wind turbines grow

It’s Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. TAP completes pivotal gas pipeline project

  2. Prysmian Picked for Cable Works at RWE's Sofia Offshore Wind Farm

  3. Shell drives robot survey vessel deployment

  4. Havyard’s Hydrogen Propulsion System Could Be Ready in 2021

  5. OSVs to become ‘smarter’ and more connected

  6. Video: In Offshore Wind, Size Matters

Image Credit: bp

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline is the final piece of a seven country project that spans Europe, and it’s starting operations. The 878 kilometer pipeline was declared operational on November 16, 2020. “The Trans Adriatic Pipeline is a strategic piece of energy infrastructure that forms the last link in the mega Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project.

SGC covers several separate energy projects that stretch over 3,500 kilometres, crossing seven countries and involving more than a dozen major companies.”

The pipeline will carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan to Italy. TAP was a 4.5 year project that went without a single incident, involving thousands of people from different countries.

“The overall trench excavation volume was 5,397,000 cubic metres – almost twice the volume of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt.” There are more interesting facts and figures on the TAP in bp’s article.

Image Credit: Offshore Engineer

“Italian power cable company Prysmian has won a contract to provide export cables for RWE Renewable’s largest offshore wind project, 1.4 gigawatt (GW) Sofia offshore wind farm, in the UK North Sea.” Prysmian will provide the vessel Leonardo da Vinci to install high voltage cables. The 320 kV cable will bring power from Sofia’s offshore converter station to the shore at Teesside, 227 kilometers away.

This will be the Leonardo da Vinci’s first project after it is delivered in 2021 - it is one of the most advanced cable laying vessels in the world. “Sofia wind farm is 100% owned by RWE, the second biggest player in offshore wind globally and the UK's second-largest generator of electricity. By 2022, RWE plans to invest €5 billion net in the continued expansion of renewable energy, and with the UK one of their core markets in Europe.”

Image Credit: Riviera

Shell is deploying autonomous vessels to search the ocean for oil and gas seeps. They have a joint agreement with Ocean Infinity to execute these seep hunter projects. “Ocean Infinity has a fleet of Armada robotic ships being built by Grovfjord Mek Verksted (GMV) in Norway, ready for operation in 2021. The 21-m vessels were designed for offshore oil, gas and renewables surveys with ultra-low emissions.”

Unmanned ships will be more reliable with lower environmental impacts. This technology could be used in other areas, such as carbon capture storage monitoring. The contract will start with 4 vessels but could be expanded to 13 - each with their own autonomous underwater vehicle for deepwater exploration. They will use hybrid-electric propulsion.

Image Credit: gCaptain

Norwegian shipbuilding group Havyard has a new hybrid propulsion system that should be ready next year. Havyard has been doing research on hydrogen propulsion for large vessels for quite a while, receiving more than NOK 100 million in funding from Pilot-E initiative. “Late last year, Havyard announced the so-called “FreeCO2ast” project was moving into the approval phase and agreements were signed with providers of hydrogen tanks and fuel cells. The ultimate goal of the project has been develop a hydrogen fuel cell system that is powerful enough to install on board a 122-meter newbuild passenger vessel.”

The CEO of the Havyard Group said they are seeing an increasing interest in hydrogen as a technologically mature technology for large, long distance vessels. Green hydrogen is made by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen, with renewable energy to power the process. As new hydrogen fuel cells increase capacity, ships will have the ability to travel farther.

Image Credit: Riviera

The two-day Offshore Support Journal Middle East Virtual Conference was this week. Ashik Subahani, managing director and naval architect at Great Waters Maritime, talked about factors in new OSV designs.

Increasing automation means new vessels need state of the art equipment like “X- and S-band radars, differential GPS (DGPS), an emergency position indicating radio beacon and the global maritime distress and safety system.” Major design challenges are stability, and integrating systems like firefighting from the initial design stage of the build. Offshore wind farms in rough seas may require the use of additional stabilization and gyros to keep ships steady. Additional accommodation may be wise as well with OSVs work on wind farms making more stops than oil and gas OSVs.

ABS is developing a new AI-based inspection system for coating inspections. 3D scanning can even help gauge thickness. DNV GL’s projects show oil as a fuel has peaked, but OSVs are just as useful in the renewable energy sector as in the oil and gas sector. Overall, the ability to use alternative fuels, implement new technologies, and develop a more flexible OSV platform should be on the horizon.

Image Credit: Offshore Engineer

Offshore wind has made huge strides in becoming more efficient and growing rapidly. As the industry continues to grow, the turbines do as well. Average wind farm size is expected to rise 6x between 2015 and 2025. But it’s not just the size of the farms that's increasing, new turbines are massive. Siemens Gamesa is planning 14 GW turbines for Sofia in the UK and Coastal Virginia in the United States. Smaller turbines will still be in use in smaller wind farms, but the trend is definitely toward big. What does this mean for the maritime industry? New vessels. Older vessels are being modified to handle turbine installations, but with the diameter of some new turbines at 222 meters, larger vessels that can handle the load are a new challenge for OEMs.

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :-)


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