Saipem’s pipelayer Castoro Sei (Beaver Six) was fully ensconced at Limassol port on Sunday before starting work on underwater pipelines for Egypt’s giant Zohr gasfield.
The Zohr gas field was discovered by Eni in August 2015, using the drillship Saipem 10000, which is still operating in the area.
The ‘floating factory’ Castoro Sei will remain in Cyprus for six months and is expected to boost the local economy, according to Limassol harbour master Giorgos Pouros.
According to Saipem, the scope of work encompasses the installation of a 26-inch gas export trunkline and 14-inch and 8-inch service trunklines, as well work for the field development in deep water (up to 1700 metres) of six wells and the installation of the umbilical system. Work will is due to be completed by the end of 2017.
In order to ensure that the accelerated development schedule is met, Saipem said it would mobilise a fleet of vessels to carry out offshore operations, consisting of the ultra-deepwater last generation pipelayer Castorone, the semisubmersible pipelayer Castoro Sei, the trench/pipelay barge Castoro 10, and other specialised vessels.
According to CNA, the Castoro Sei, which is 152 metres in length and 70.5 metres wide, has come from Greece and will be docked at Limassol for the next six months, utilising the port’s services.
“It is a vindication of the right infrastructure that we have, because although this platform will work for Zohr, the company chose to use the port of Limassol due to the services offered by both the port and by our private sector,” Pouros told CNA.
“We have won this first battle in the competition that exists around us,” he said, adding that he believed this would encourage other companies to choose Limassol port future for their activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The choice of Cyprus by Saipem came about after intensive efforts and consultations, said agent’s Atlas Offshore Operations. The company’s Philip Shoemaker said it was the first time Cyprus has hosted such a platform.
“This floating plant will bring many economic benefits to the place,” he told CNA, adding that it would have around 180 people working 24 hours a day. This would benefit local business, the port itself, the airports, hotels and restaurants.The platform provides accommodation for 354 persons.
The Castoro Sei arrived off Cyprus on Saturday and mooring began early on Sunday with the help of four towing vessels, a process that lasted more than three hours.
The platform was built in 1978 by Fincantieri at Trieste yard, and is owned and operated by Saipem. Her port of registry is Nassau, Bahamas.
It has been used for laying a number of pipelines in the Black Sea, North Sea and Mediterranean. The vessel was also deployed for laying the Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic Sea.