Autumn/Winter 2017

Hurricane repair in the Gulf of Mexico

JFSE has embarked on its 80th decommissioning project in the Gulf of Mexico.

The specialist team at James Fisher Subsea Excavation (JFSE) has been working in the Gulf of Mexico to clear the wreckage of an eight-leg platform that was destroyed by Hurricane Ike nine years ago. Although the JFSE team operates worldwide, this was the 80th similar type project in a region which has been hard hit by hurricanes in the last decade.

Recent extreme weather saw this salvage project delayed for a number of weeks, but JFSE deployed its highly accurate mass flow excavator (MFE) spread to clear the oil platform jacket wreckage to give swift access for rigging and removal.

Steven Kaub, business development manager Americas at JFSE explains:

‘Although there is an immediate impact felt by the energy industry in hurricane season, there are many ongoing challenges too. This project shows the many ways we can ease the burden that our clients continue to face many years after a storm wreaks its havoc.’

The Gulf of Mexico is a profitable and prolific site for oil and gas exploration with over 3,000 active wells in the region and 25,000 miles of active oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing the seafloor. Not surprisingly, this infrastructure is extremely vulnerable to damage during hurricane season.

When a hurricane approaches, oil production and pipeline facilities in the expected path of the storm are shut down, crews are evacuated, and refineries and processing plants are closed, but damage is unavoidable and can be considerable. Sometimes this damage can take a rig beyond economical repair and the Gulf is now littered with a large number of unusable rigs and wells.

‘Structures lying on the seabed cause obvious challenges for clients wishing to remove them.'

'Excavation using divers can be dangerous and mechanical cutters are subject to damage from hidden debris, so we use extensions on our MFE tools allowing them to be lowered through the debris, guided by sonar, to excavate the seabed.’

Explains JFSE technical director, Graham Murdoch.

The US Gulf of Mexico is an important marketplace for JFSE which has worked on 150 projects there in the last 15 years.

‘This gives us a sound understanding of the challenges, procedures and working conditions of the region. We have a suite of tools and experienced personnel based locally.’

Adds Steven.

As well as working effectively in this hurricane zone, JFSE is also involved in projects in the bitterly cold environments off the coast of Russia where sites are only accessible by water four months of the year, and the teams have excavated in extremely high African temperatures too.





JFSE has also just completed its first project in the emerging Asia Pacific renewables industry, trenching an export cable for the Formosa 1 offshore wind farm development in Taiwan.

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