Viking Moorings, a provider of total mooring solutions to the offshore oil and gas industry, today launched its new ‘fibre in bag’ solution – a complete fibre rope storage system which will enable the fibre rope and the buoy in a pre-set mooring application to be stored safely on the seabed until mobilisation (the fibre rope will be stored in a bag).

The solution was developed in partnership with Det Norske and was announced at the Anchor Handling Seminar in Stavanger today. The Anchor Handling Seminar is an annual event for the mooring industry with more than 250 participants and stretching over two full days.

Benefits to operators of the new ‘fibre in bag’ solution will include a simplification of pre-laid mooring operations with the ability to store the fibre rope and buoy underwater, efficient and flexible onboard handling and storage when required, no requirements for specialised tooling and external cranes, and the protection of seafloor infrastructure and flora, with no grappling. In addition, there will be no need to protect buoys at the surface.

Wolfgang Wandl, CEO of Viking Moorings, said: “Improving, simplifying and speeding up mooring operations are crucial to today’s operator as they look to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.

“That’s what we have achieved with our new ‘fibre in bag’ solution today which will enable operators to store fibre inserts safely on the floor without threats of damage and, with our retrievable subsea buoy, reduce the need for grappling. The result will be a safer, more efficient and simplified mooring operation.”

He concludes: “We at Viking can certainly envisage a future where the mooring infrastructure around target fields remains ever present with operators linking their offshore installations into the pre-set mooring whenever required. With our focus on innovation and new solutions, such as these, we will ensure that this is a seamless and highly effective process.”

Traditionally in pre-mooring applications, the anchor chain on the sea bed is grappled to connect the chain to a buoy in advance of the rig’s arrival. This grappling operation can often disturb the sea bed surface and harm potential coral colonies. Furthermore, when a surface buoy is connected to the subsea pre-mooring installation, a guard boat is often required to prevent any collisions between the buoys and other marine traffic. In addition, the fibre rope insert which follows the ground chain cannot be pre-laid, since any movement of the insert may allow seabed corals, debris or other seabed particles to cut into some of the fibres.

The new system will store the fibre insert in a bag that will be stored safely underwater alongside a remotely operated spin buoy which will, until activated, stay on the sea bed on conventional applications, or close to an artificial sea bed on ultra deep water applications.

When the anchor handling vessel (AHV) is ready for connecting the ground chain to the fibre rope or the rig chain, the spin buoy will be brought to the surface using a coded acoustic signal and spool off a rope in a controlled manner until it reaches the surface, negating the need for conventional buoys on the surface and reducing the need for grappling.

The spin buoy has been developed in partnership with Norwegian company, Spin.