Marine Log

March 20, 2006

PGS orders Ramform newbuild

Petroleum Geo-Services ASA is to build a new third generation Ramform seismic vessel at Aker Yards, Langsten, Norway.

The agreed cost from the yard is NOK 562 million (approximately $85 million). This includes the installation of the seismic equipment but not its cost. The agreement is subject to satisfactory completion of a final contract and board approval by Aker Yards and includes an option for a sister vessel.

The new Ramform is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2008, in time for the North Sea season.

Aker Yards has constructed all of PGS' six existing Ramform vessels. This latest vessel is the first PGS newbuild since the delivery of Ramform Vanguard in 1999.

PGS says the third generation Ramform is designed "to further extend the PGS lead in 3D seismic acquisition productivity and efficiency."

The design builds on the proven capabilities of the current Ramform fleet, while introducing several improvements. The vessel will be lengthened by approximately 16 meters, giving higher fuel capacity and transit speed. A substantial power upgrade will significantly increase speed while surveying. The vessel will be capable of towing up to 22 streamers. A range of technology improvements will be implemented to maintain or improve efficiency of handling, deployment, retrieval and maintenance of the in sea equipment.

The new vessel is a key step in the implementation of PGS' HD3D technical strategy. Customers are demanding clearer and more precise images of reservoirs on their producing assets. PGS says that HD3D matches these demands by collecting subsurface data at up to eight times the density of conventional 3D surveys.

To carry this out in a cost-effective manner, HD3D vessels need to deploy massive arrays of closely-spaced streamers.

PGS says that Ramforms are unmatched in this mode, and the third generation Ramform will be able to extend that capability even beyond existing limits. This is the market segment which has experienced the highest growth in recent years.

Additionally, says PGS. the new vessel is an important step in the context of fleet renewal in the seismic industry. There has been little investment in new capacity over the last few years, and much of the capacity recently added or planned in the near future is older tonnage reintroduced to the market or converted from other purposes to seismic surveys. As customer and technology demands drive the seismic business forward in the years ahead, fleet investment is required to meet those demands at the same time as substituting for the inevitable attrition of obsolete capacity