Up to 75 guests got to see, first hand, the latest in mooring-related technology during ONS in Stavanger at the end of last month courtesy of Viking Moorings, a provider of total mooring solutions to the offshore oil and gas industry.

The guests, who included a range of representatives from E&P operators and drilling contractors, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate, the Petroleum Safety Authority, and partners such as Det Norske Veritas, were aboard the Farstad anchor handling vessel (AHV), Far Scorpion, for a day trip up Gandsfjord, west of Stavanger.

Following pre-operation and safety briefings, the following innovative new anchor handling solutions were demonstrated:

An anchor was set with Vryhof Anchors’ new Stevtrack anchor data acquisition system, providing a real-time overview of the anchor installation process on the seabed and faster anchor installations in real-time. With Stevtrack, a transponder unit on the anchor communicates with a setback monitor on the AHV, displaying real-time data on variables, such as roll, pitch, drag length, penetration depth and pull-in force. The system can also confirm when the anchor is positioned correctly on the seabed and avoids the need for anchors to be reset, saving both time and money. The system is also particularly applicable in harsh, offshore conditions.

As part of the demonstration, a 15t Vryhof Stevpris Mk6 anchor, supplied by Vryhof Anchors, was launched over a stern roller and lowered with the anchor’s orientation monitored on a setback monitor. Already, Viking has signed a contract with Vryhof Anchors for Stevtrack to be installed on a set of anchors which will be used for drilling rig operations.

The second demonstration was of the ‘Spin’ buoy, a revolutionary new product to enhance the anchor retrieval process, where a submerged buoy can be brought to the surface using a coded acoustic signal. The signal will release the buoy, while the hydrodynamic fairing forces the buoy to rotate, paying out rope. The rope is connected to the rest of the mooring line making it easier to retrieve the anchor. In the demonstration, the ‘Spin’ buoy was launched in 180m of water depth, was acoustically released, and arrived at the surface less than two minutes later. 180m of wire, 250m of chain, and the anchor itself were all brought to the deck.

Finally, Smart Installations’ ControlCutter solution was demonstrated – a device that cuts chain in less than three seconds. With safety and the ability to handle large anchors in deep waters such a prevalent issue in the industry – particularly following the Bourbon Dolphin tragedy in 2007 where the ship capsized while anchoring a semi-submersible drilling platform – ControlCutter will ensure that anchor chains can be cut immediately.

All demonstrations worked exactly according to specifications and as planned with an overwhelmingly positive response from guests.

Wolfgang Wandl, CEO of Viking Moorings, said: “If proof was ever needed of Viking Moorings’ commitment to R+D and embracing of innovation, this was to be found at Gandsfjord during ONS – a milestone in the development of new solutions and our commitment to innovation.

“With Vryhof’s Stevtrack, customers can look forward to faster anchor installations and accurate, real-time information on the process; with ‘Spin’ buoy, the anchor retrieval process can be dramatically simplified and accelerated; and with ControlCutter, enhanced safety procedures have been brought to what is a highly complex and often dangerous process.”

He concluded: “We are also delighted to be partnering with Vryhof Anchors on Stevtrack and reaffirming our position as a provider of total mooring solutions.”

Further details on all three new solutions will be announced over the next few weeks.

Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) took place on 24-27 August 2010 in Stavanger, Norway, with 49,000 visitors attending.