Duffy & McGovern Brings First ATEX-Approved Module to Market

Duffy and McGovern has brought the world's first ATEX-approved offshore rental module to market. The module, which has been six months in development and with a cost of approximately £100,000 to develop, has successfully met the criteria for the new European Union ATEX (atmosphere explosible) Directive 94/9/EC.

The unit will now be supplied to fulfil a £270,000 contract with the Wood Group for the BP Lomond platform and is one of a total of eight modules being supplied on the contract. Seven standard A60 sleeper units are also being supplied along with the ATEX module, which will be used as a locker room in a category three (Zone II) area of the rig.

Brought in July 2003, the new ATEX directive sets out rigid standards for equipment being used in potentially explosive atmospheres and is applicable to the offshore oil and gas industry as well as other industry sectors. Equipment which has been designed, manufactured or built since July 2003 must now pass the demanding requirements of the Directive in order to be supplied for use in the EU, including the North Sea.

"Under the new directive each and every electrical component used in the manufacture of this new module must be sourced from an ATEX-approved manufacturer and meet the ATEX standard," explains Duffy and McGovern technical director George Emslie. "The research which has gone into sourcing these parts has therefore been quite extensive and we are delighted to be the first manufacturer to be able to offer this new high standard. We have always marketed our products as 'world class', that is, able to meet the prevailing safety standards in any part of the world at any time, so with this latest development we are just continuing our record."

"Although ATEX is a European Union directive, the standard it sets is already being demanded in other parts of the world," continues Craig Russell. "For example, some new mobile offshore drilling units being constructed in the Far East are already being built to the ATEX standard as many in the industry believe it will become an international requirement in due course. It seems likely that the majority, if not all of the engineering modules we build from new from now on will be built to the ATEX standard."

All components of the Duffy and McGovern unit which could be considered electrical or mechanical sources of ignition (including the heating, lighting, air conditioning and other electrical systems) have been replaced with new ATEX-approved parts. Under the directive, equipment of this standard must now be used in any part of a rig or vessel where potentially explosive concentrations of gas, vapour, mist or combustible dust could be present.

The ATEX locker unit is being supplied to BP Lomond on a long term rental basis along with the seven DNV 2.7.1 four-man sleeper units which will form a living quarters in a safe area of the rig. Duffy and McGovern has become a regular provider of offshore accommodation to BP having now supplied over 35 sleeper, engineering and general purpose accommodation units to thirteen BP platforms worldwide.