Nexans, global leader in cables and cabling solutions, has further extended the subsea cable laying capabilities of the C/S Nexans Skagerrak, already one of the world's most advanced cable ships, following the successful completion of a major conversion and upgrading project. It will put to sea shortly from the Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Limited dockyard in Birkenhead, England where the 8 million euro, two-month, fast-track contract was carried out.
The conversion and upgrade has increased the C/S Nexans Skagerrak's capability to carry out even larger scale power cable and umbilical installation projects, to meet the changing needs of customers in the subsea interconnector and oil & gas sectors. It has also extended her service life and increased her autonomy while at sea.
The major element in the project has been the insertion of a new 12.5 metre pre-fabricated hull section that has increased the ship's overall length to 112.25 metres. An additional accommodation module has also been installed, taking the total number of single cabins on board to 60, together with a new work deck, complete with cable-handling equipment, that has increased on the on-deck storage capacity to around 2000 m2 (from 900 m2). The upgrade has increased the ship's deadweight from 7,886 tonnes to 9,373 tonnes.
"Owning and operating our own dedicated cable ship forms a vital part of Nexans' strategy to provide a comprehensive service for subsea projects, from design, development and manufacture to installation", says Krister Granlie, Managing Director of Nexans' Umbilicals & Submarine High Voltage Business Group. "This major upgrade and conversion of the C/S Skagerrak underlines our commitment to the subsea sector, and ensures we are well prepared to handle the growing market trend for ever longer cables and larger scale installations."
State-of-the-art cable laying ship
The C/S Nexans Skagerrak was the first purpose-built ship to be designed specifically for the transport and installation of submarine high-voltage power cables and umbilicals. To date, there are only two vessels of this kind in the world. It features a 7,000 tonne capacity, 29 metre diameter turntable, a computer based laying control system and a state-of-the-art dynamic positioning system, and can also deploy Nexans' specialist Capjet ROV trenching systems for cable burial operations.
The ship can be fitted with additional cable handling equipment to perform operations such as: cable repairs, including submarine cutting and retrieval of damaged sections; simultaneous laying of two cables with controlled separation; piggyback laying.
Past and future projects
Nexans operated the C/S Nexans Skagerrak on a long term charter basis for many years, before purchasing her outright in 2006. She has been involved in a variety of major submarine cable projects such as: both power links between Spain and Morocco (1997 and 2005); the Gemini project in the Gulf of Mexico (1999); the Abu Safah project in Saudi Arabia (2004) and the NorNed link (2008) between Norway and the Netherlands which, at 580 km, is the world's longest high-voltage submarine power link.
The first project for the C/S Nexans Skagerrak on leaving Birkenhead will be the BP Valhall PFS (power from shore) project in the North Sea. This involves the laying of 292 km of HVDC (high voltage direct current) cable, as well as a separate optical fibre cable, to provide the Valhall offshore platform with power generated onshore in Norway.
Reasons for choosing Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Limited
The Cammell Laird shipyard was selected for the C/S Nexans Skagerrak upgrade project as Nexans regards it as a reputable company with good references - both technically and financially. It also had the capacity available to suit Nexans' programme and was competitive on price and conditions. Furthermore, the location of the shipyard in the UK fitted in well with the ship's route to its next cable laying project in the North Sea.