2001 Maritime

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September 5, 2001

Finding a better way to clean up oily bilge water
EnSolve Biosystems has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the U. S. Naval Sea Systems Command to develop a fully automated biomechanical system for removal of oily wastes from ships’ bilge water so it can be safely discharged overboard.

The biomechanical technology would replace the existing mechanical oily water separators currently used by the Navy. These mechanical systems have proved to be unreliable and require high maintenance.

According to Dr. Jason Caplan, president and CEO of EnSolve Biosystems, the research program for the Navy will be based on technology originally developed by the company for the commercial marine market. Last year, EnSolve Biosystems introduced the PetroLiminator system, which uses safe, non-pathogenic bacteria to remove oil, grease, detergents and other hydrocarbons from bilge water so that it meets international standards for overboard discharge.

Unlike mechanical oily water separators, the PetroLiminator is virtually maintenance-free, with no filters or ceramic beads to clean or replace. It is also claimed to easily remove emulsified oil and detergents, which cannot typically be handled by mechanical separators.

The PetroLiminator system has been type-approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Department of Transport, certifying compliance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) carriage requirements.

Quietening the latest FRV
Noise Control Engineering, Billerica, Mass., has received a subcontract from Friede-Goldman Halter for the engineering and acoustical design services on NOAA's new Fisheries Research Vessel, the FRV-40. The ship will be designed to quietly perform fish stock assessment studies in the open ocean. According to William Michaels, NOAA Fisheries Biologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, “The new FRV-40 design will significantly lower radiated vessel noise reducing the effect that noise may be producing on fish behavior around our sampling operations.”

When completed the FRV-40 will be one of the most sophisticated and quietest vessels of its type. Noise Control Engineering or NCE will be a key participant in the detail design of the vessel along with Halter Marine's Engineering office in Gulfport, Mississippi. NCE will be preparing numerous acoustic design studies and analysis. The firm is responsible for noise control treatment recommendations and their design. During construction, NCE will be performing construction inspections and eventually test the vessel to show it meets the requirements for underwater sound.

Norsk Hydro gets into deepwater GOM
Norsk Hydro USA Oil & Gas Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norsk Hydro Americas Inc., has entered a joint venture agreement with Conoco Inc. It provides for Norsk Hydro to acquire 25 % working interest participation in five firm and three contingent exploration wells in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Norsk Hydro has been assigned title interest in 55 leases covering the prospect areas concerned.
The first two firm wells began drilling in July.

Frank Pedersen, senior VP, new ventures, commented that Norsk Hydro regards entry into deepwater Gulf of Mexico as a strategic move that will create opportunities for long-term profitable E&P growth and good prospects for value creation. "This area offers many attractions as a potential new core area for Norsk Hydro’s exploration and production activities. These include high quality exploration opportunities with large undiscovered resource potential, favorable fiscal framework and the opportunity to further build on Norsk Hydro’s offshore competence from the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The Gulf of Mexico is considered to be a prime arena for further development of deepwater oil and gas technology.”

ABB wins FPSO orders
ABB has won two orders, worth $95 million, from Bergesen d.y. Offshore, the Norway-based floating production contractor, to build and operate the oil processing systems on two floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units.

One of the FPSOs, “Berge Hus,” is expected to be ready for operation in January 2002 and will be able to process 160,000 barrels of liquids per day. The second FPSO, “Berge Helene,” will have a production capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day and is expected to be ready for operation during the summer of 2002.

ABB will engineer and construct both oil processing units, including control and automation systems, and run them for four years or longer.

ABB started its relationship with Bergesen in November 2000 when it delivered and began operating the processing module for another FPSO, “Sendje Berge” on the Ceiba field outside Equatorial Guinea, West Africa. The Sendje Berge process module has achieved a 99-percent up-time since operations began.

Gorm Gundersen, Group Executive Vice President and head of ABB’s Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals division, said the latest order from Bergesen reinforces ABB’s position as a leading supplier to the growing FPSO market. “We have the people, technology and understanding of the offshore oil business to build our position even further,” he said.