TSMarine Building Vessels Specifically for Niche Subsea Market

Aberdeen-based TSMarine is investing 130 million in two specialist vessels in a bid to conquer the subsea decommissioning and rigless well intervention markets. The vessels are designed by Norwegian naval architects Marin Teknikk and are of the MT6040 type and shall be built at the Astilleros Huelva shipyard in Spain.

The vessels will be unique in that they will be equipped with specially designed well abandonment and intervention support packages. This equipment will include a module handling tower, subsea intervention lubricator to allow access for subsea well intervention and decommissioning activities and inbuilt workclass ROV systems.

TSMarine is aiming to exploit the burgeoning subsea decommissioning and rigless intervention market, where global expenditure is forecast to rise by 170% in the next eight years, according to subsea oil and gas analysts, Infield Systems Ltd. Global value of this sector in 2009 is expected to be 500 million.

Established in 2004, the company currently charters vessels to service the subsea decommissioning and rigless well intervention markets. Having already grown to a turnover of 30 million and an onshore and offshore workforce amounting to 80 in 2006, TSMarine's ambitious strategy will see the company reaching 100 million by 2009 with over 200 employees worldwide.

Alasdair Cowie, managing director of TSMarine, said: "We are already ahead of targets in our predictions for the last two years and this success has been built on our strategy of chartering vessels and delivering specialist services in the specific areas of subsea decommissioning and rigless well intervention. However, owning and operating our own specially designed vessels will ensure that we can service our niche market and guarantee significant and sustainable future growth."

Key to the new vessels capability is their environmental features. Not only will the fuel consumption be low - typically 30% less than other similar vessels, the TSMarine developed on-board environmental processing systems will handle both well fluids and solids in a safe manner and prevent discharge at sea.

"Targeting as we are the environmentally sensitive abandonment market, it was vital that the design team worked proactively on the environmental capability and we believe this will set our vessels apart from others operating in this sector - giving us a real competitive advantage," explains Cowie.

ABN AMRO bank is providing the debt facility for TSMarine to finance the vessels. Colin McGinnis, Head of Structured Shipping Finance at ABN AMRO in London says: "This transaction could be one of the most significant deals in this sector, to complete this year. It is a major project for all involved but for a company of TSMarine's youth, size and track record it is a major coup. We have been impressed by the strength and commitment of the TSMarine management team and have confidence in them and their growth strategy to generate a significant return on their investment."

Industry body, Subsea UK, welcomes the investment by TSMarine. Chief Executive, David Pridden says: "It is great to see a UK-based company investing in this type of vessel, specifically targeted at the decommissioning end of the market, where vessels are either inappropriate or over-priced. With the high oil price much of the focus is on subsea production but abandonment has to be tackled and the UK will miss out on an opportunity if it does not gear up for this forthcoming work program. TSMarine's proactive approach to this market has to be applauded."

Led by Alasdair Cowie, TSMarine is a Scottish company with shareholders based in Scotland and Norway.

TSMarine currently holds a number of contracts, one of which being a three year 'call-off' contract with Woodside Energy Ltd which sees it carry out rigless intervention in Australian Waters. It has also worked with other major clients including BP, Shell, Saipem, Subsea 7 and Weatherford.


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