National Oilwell Varco (NOV) has expanded its offshore offerings. Coupled with NOV cranes, winches and handling equipment from legacy brands such as Hydralift, Norson and AmClyde, the new systems enable NOV to outfit an entire construction lay vessel. The complete, integrated packages are tailored to meet specific operational needs, offering higher flexibility and improved vessel utilization. Leveraging existing project execution experience from integrating drilling projects, NOV will manage the entire process from equipment package design to installation and initial operation support.

A key contributor to this strategy is the recent addition of technical solutions from Italy-based Remacut, which bridges previous gaps in the NOV product portfolio. These additions enable delivery of complete pipe and cable lay systems for any application and configuration. Integrated control system technology from decades of drilling projects gives NOV the ability to monitor and manage the entire lay process. This advantage allows synchronization of each step in the production line, including integration with the vessel systems such as dynamic positioning, propulsion and power management. Through a high level of integration capabilities, NOV can deliver systems with high levels of automation, reducing the number of required workers on deck while improving operation speed and consistency.

Lay system modularity

In constantly changing environments, maximizing vessel utilization is more important now than ever. NOV works closely with vessel operators, creating an open dialogue to learn more about unique project needs. Modular equipment and scalable system designs enable layout selection based on business objectives. Lay systems might be optimized for specific operations, and vessels can be efficiently repurposed between contracts. Changing between types of lay operations is possible with minimal modifications to equipment or layout. This offers a choice of an equipment package profile for vessels, enabling optimization for specific contracts that vessel operators are pursuing.

Rigid and flexible lay systems range from small, modular bolt-on tools that can be quickly mobilized on any vessel of opportunity up to large, specialized vessels with integrated pipe carousel systems. NOV uses extensive experience to create cost-efficient vessel adaptations that provide essential lay system characteristics.

NOV professionals work with customers to identify the most well-suited packages based on business objectives, optimizing lay systems for shallow or deep lay operations or providing the flexibility to do both. Scalable system layouts enable vessel reconfiguration through simple component upgrades or replacements. Following the optimization process, experts consider the type or level of product support in the lay system, whether it is rigid, flex or cable and select from equipment designed to handle a wide range of products. The contact points of tensioner pads, rollers, chutes and other products can be easily replaced to achieve the configuration required for the job. NOV’s hybrid lay system philosophy offers the ability to cost-effectively repurpose vessels to pursue a broader range of lay contracts.

Pipehandling systems transport pipe during the pipelay process. (Source: NOV)

Cranes, A-frames and winches

Vessel packages, cranes, A-frames and winches are designed into the layout to support the lay operations and offer the ability to repurpose the vessel. S-Lay, the range of heavy-lift cranes, fulfills the lifting requirements for the largest vessels. Knuckle-boom active heave compensation cranes meet the needs of smaller flex lay vessels. The operational design dictates the level of simultaneous operations required, which affects power system requirements. To save cost and complexity, NOV designs the overall system to share drives, hydraulic power units and other components where there is an opportunity to do so.

Reel drive systems deploy and recover umbilicals or flexible pipes that are stored on standard flexible product reels. (Source: NOV)

Cost savings

Purchasing a turnkey vessel reduces unforeseen integration issues during the commissioning process and improves communication between ship builder, vessel owner and equipment supplier. This reduces project risk during the building process and ensures the vessel owner takes delivery of a purpose-built vessel that is ready to go on contract from the first day of a project.

Improved safety

The use of an integrated control system enables the implementation of additional solutions on construction vessels. On drilling vessels, anti-collision system technology prevents collisions between cranes and vessel structures. In the construction environment, the technology provides an increased level of safety for personnel and reduces the risk of equipment damage for vessel operators.

Sealift compensation technology improves safety and reliability of ship-to-ship lifts between two dynamic vessels through the use of radio-transmitted heave, pitch and roll data. A basket containing a motion reference unit and a radio transmitter is placed on the vessel opposite of the crane, streaming live data back to the crane. The crane uses this information to automatically compensate for differences in vessel motion during the lift, allowing the crane operator to safely collect the payload and place it onboard the construction vessel. This results in a safer work environment for crane operators and deckhands.

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