Seacroft Marine Consultants Limited, a leading Aberdeen-based marine assurance and training consultancy, noted significant upturn in activity levels in the offshore oil and gas industry’s marine sector the final quarter of 2019 and is projecting continuing increased activity through the first half of 2020.
Company director Jennifer Fraser says: “Although margins remain tight – and Seacroft is committed to continuing to seek every opportunity to deliver cost efficiencies to clients – the fourth quarter of 2019 saw our company’s highest level of activity since the oil price crash of 2014. We believe the industry is slowly recovering to a longer-term outlook of stability.”
Seacroft identify two main factors driving increased demand – busier vessel charter markets and intensified rigour on safety standards by the regulator.
Major maintenance programmes on late-life assets in the North Sea, together with modification programmes to accommodate tie-back developments have been significant drivers to increased attendant vessel traffic in the form of Floatels, Walk-to-Work (W2W) and Platform Supply Vessels (PSVs). These continuing projects, together with a busy programme of shutdown projects occasioned by Forties Pipeline System maintenance, will continue to drive demand in these vessel sectors through the spring and summer.
Simultaneously, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is increasingly looking to installation operators and duty holders to demonstrate the robustness and independent audit of their arrangements for assuring safe operation of vessels attending their installations.
Seacroft Marine has delivered assurance services on board over 600 vessels in the North Sea in the last 3 years, that experience spanning Dynamic Positioning (DP), Diving Support (DSVs), Anchor Handling Tugs (AHTs), Platform Supply Vessels (PSVs), Emergency Response & Rescue Vessels (ERRVs), Walk to Work vessels (W2W), Remotely Operated Vehicle Support vessels (ROVSVs), Offshore Support & Construction Vessel (OSCV), Tankers, Pipe Lay, Heavy Lift, Guard Vessels and Work Boats. The company undertakes this work from a position independent of any classification society, quayside operator, broker, industry association or regulator.
Michael Cowlam, technical director at Seacroft Marine, identifies some key areas of focus: “Our SafeZone 500 training for Marine Responsible Persons (MRP) offshore controlling vessel activity in the 500m zone is now well established as the industry benchmark programme in this area. We are also striving to develop innovative approaches to assurance and trialling activities which minimise interruption or disruption of vessel working programmes.”
Seacroft Marine will continue to advance these twin themes of safety enhancements and cost efficiencies in 2020.