This week Houston based Noble Energy, one of the several oil companies operating in the Falkland Islands made the official opening of the temporary dock facility (TDF) in Stanley, an essential piece for the logistics of the industry which is scheduled to begin another round of exploratory drilling in the first quarter of next year.
The official opening of the temporary dock facility is an important milestone and an icon of the future exploration campaign, said Noble Energy’s Senior Vice President Susan Cunningham, last Wednesday as a group of guests took a tour of the facility.
Ms. Cunningham is making her second visit to the Islands having first visited in March, just before the dock Nobel Frontier arrived under tow in the Islands after travelling 5,000 kilometers over 47 days from New Orleans.
She said the day of the dock being opened really began in 2011 when Noble Energy decided to explore further in the Falklands.
The following year the huge amount of seismic data gathered with partners FOGL and Eddison revealed, “multiple exciting prospects,” and in 2013 to facilitate the drilling program the barge was jointly purchased with Premier Oil after reaching agreements with the Falkland Islands Government.
The first shipment of drilling supplies are due to be unloaded at the dock at the end of the month and the Eirik Raude semisubmersible drilling rig is due to arrive in March 2015.
Noble plans to drill the Humpback prospect well in mid 2015, “and we all hope we will have a real celebration then,” said Ms Cunningham.
Leading a tour of the dock Operations Manager Joel Landry said they had been, “really lucky,” to find the barge which was originally used for construction then converted to fuel service which meant the tanks were in pristine condition and the deck was rated for heavy lifts.
He said the barge cost 5 million dollars. Twelve to fifteen million had been spent on getting the four dolphins constructed and installed and the causeway consisting of some 60 cubes, in the region of 3million.
A permanent dock would have cost three times the amount to construct and also part of the remit had been that there might be a need to move the dock to somewhere else in the Islands, such as Port William, said Mr. Landry. He said however that he thought within the harbor was a better site as it was a lot less exposed to the wind and the weather than Port William.
He described the 750ft pontoon causeway as being, “hinged” to accommodate the motion of the sea and said if they built another one the walkway would be on the east side as it got a little wet when there was a strong westerly blowing.
The 600ft of berthing dock could handle two vessels and the usual fully loaded 40 ton truck; any heavier lifts would be accommodated with wider spread trailers, said Mr. Landry adding that the 270 ton crane which was brought in for the construction would remain to work the vessels.
Initially four freighters would come in with up to 4,000 tons each of materials needed for the next phase and then the dock would be predominantly used by the two PSV vessels which run back and forward supplying the rig with materials and the emergency rescue vessel.
Noble’s Falklands representative Richard Winkelman said that after the time spent on the installation he was extremely happy to be out walking around on the TDF. “We couldn’t be more proud to have this as the launching pad for our exploration drilling program in 2015,” he said.
Regarding the extended completion date which was originally scheduled for July, Mr. Winkelman said, “it’s a large construction project we beared up and persevered and here we are today”. (Penguin News).-