Leading engineering services company, Neptune Marine Services, has secured a major Asian contract for the NEPSYS dry underwater welding technology. The contract involves the installation of two sleeves to strengthen a jacket leg on a platform located in 240 feet (80 meters) of water in the southern Gulf of Thailand. The installation will increase the maximum topside load of the platform to incorporate new accommodation facilities.
Neptune expects to mobilize for the offshore works during April following the completion of comprehensive habitat design, fabrication and testing; welding procedure preparation; international class approvals to ABS standards and 12 meters. The NEPSYS welding phase of the project is expected to take approximately two weeks to complete during which time Neptune will work in partnership with Mermaid Offshore Services Ltd as prime contractor to Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Ltd.
Neptune's Managing Director and CEO, Christian Lange, said the contract recognized the substantial cost savings and improvements over conventional maintenance practices that the NEPSYS technology offered. "The portability of the technology ensures it can achieve a permanent repair solution in situ that is extremely cost effective, equal to dry weld standards and internationally class approved," he said. "On projects such as this where topside loads are increased, critical structural components on the jacket substructure sometimes require reinforcement and the NEPSYS welding technology is perfectly suited to this purpose."
Neptune's extension into Asia reinforces the company's strategy for global expansion of the NEPSYS technology that includes a number of projects earmarked for completion in the Gulf of Mexico.
"With more than 5000 platforms and associated pipelines, the Gulf of Mexico represents a particularly lucrative market for the technology, as does the North Sea with its ageing offshore infrastructure," Lange suggested. "Our acquisition of the Aberdeen-based subsea and offshore engineering firm, Ross Deeptech Initiatives Limited, will provide a strong foundation for additional expansion into this market."
The ability of the NEPSYS system to consistently achieve superior quality welds is due to the controlled habitat that fully encloses and isolates the heat affected zone from the surrounding environment. Inside the habitat, ideal welding conditions are maintained via the continuous delivery of heated inert gas at a pressure above that of the ambient hydrostatic water pressure. The process also results in the elimination of hydrogen from the weld area and prevents quenching from the surrounding water to provide an even thermal distribution. The flexibility of the system provides for habitats to be custom designed to suit difficult or complex structures or applications.
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