BP has ordered four new platform support ships which will be based in Aberdeen and deployed in the company’s West of Shetland and Norwegian operations.
The vessels, designed to help BP deliver its “long-term strategy” in the North Sea, will be built by Hyundai, chartered for 15 years and delivered between the winter of 2013 and summer of 2014.
BP is investing around £6.7 billion over the next five years in the North Sea – including major UK projects such as the Clair Ridge, Quad 204 (Schiehallion/Loyal), Devenick and Kinnoull and also two in Norway.
The new vessels will have oil-spill response capability and special tanks to transport fluids required for planned enhanced oil recovery (EOR) schemes. Performance and safety will be further improved by having dedicated crews on long-term hire, minimising turnover.
BP’s North Sea regional president Trevor Garlick said: “Our long-term commitment to the North Sea gives us the confidence to make major investments in vital support services. These new vessels will provide BP with a number of safety and commercial benefits, as well as allow for the greater deployment of technology. Improving our capability to recover more oil from our reservoirs is crucial to the future of the North Sea.”
The announcement is also seen as positive news for the local economies in Scotland and Norway, as nearly 80 per cent of the total project and operating costs will be spent there. The operating and maintenance work will be locally supplied and officers and crew will be UK and Norwegian-qualified mariners. The vessels’ operators will support seafarers’ development by sponsoring personnel through their professional qualifications, including an officer cadet training scheme.