Nakilat-Keppel Offshore & Marine (N-KOM), a joint venture between Qatar's gas shipper Nakilat and Singapore's Keppel Corporation subsidiary Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd., announced Tuesday that it has achieved another milestone with the keel laying of its first liftboat newbuild project, awarded recently in July by long-time client Gulf Drilling International (GDI). The project marks the shipyard’s first foray into the offshore jackup newbuild market and is also the first such project to be undertaken in Qatar. Once completed in 2015, the liftboat will support GDI’s growing offshore fleet of jackups.
Senior management from N-KOM, GDI as well as classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) were present to witness the keel laying of the liftboat, which took place at the Erhama Bin Jaber Al Jalahma shipyard in Ras Laffan, Qatar.
Customized for field transit operations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the self-propelled and self-elevating liftboat (LB310) is designed in collaboration with Bennett Offshore, a naval architecture and marine engineering arm of Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM). It can operate in water depths of up to 213 feet (65 meters) and will be equipped with a unique 200 tons leg encircling crane, a large open deck space of around 8,611 square feet (800 square meters), a heli-deck and accommodation quarters for 130 persons.
A liftboat is a more efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional offshore support vessels performing well-servicing, data-logging, wire-line cleaning, maintenance, commissioning and decommissioning of offshore platforms; this is especially so since it is self-propelled and thus can be mobilized without requiring third party assistance. In addition, it can accommodate a large number of offshore crew and also enhance the overall safety by providing a more stable work environment with its self-elevating feature.
Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, CEO of N-KOM shared, “This is N-KOM’s first newbuild project for GDI, having previously completed more than ten jackup repair and conversion projects for the company. We have seen an increasing number of greenfield developments in the region, with major oil players rapidly expanding their fleet in tandem with market demand. Having already made a name for ourselves in the repair market, our next strategy is to capture the newbuild and the robust regional offshore market by leveraging both Nakilat and KOM’s expertise to provide our customers with quality and value-added offshore solutions.”
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