Building for the Future
CEO and Chairman of Harvey Gulf International Marine, Shane Guidry, is passionate about bringing new technology to the market. That's why Harvey Gulf is the first company to build US flagged DP2 class dual-fuel powered Platform Supply Vessels (PSVs).
The Full Picture Magazine met Guidry in Harvey Gulf's newly built office in Houston, where he talked about the company's latest investment; the construction of two PSVs that run on natural gas. This is a first in the US. "Some might say it's crazy to spend an additional ten million dollars on each of these two dual-fuel vessels today, but we are not building our vessel only for today; we are also building them for future operation," comments Guidry.
A long relationship
From its headquarters in New Orleans, Harvey Gulf provides offshore rig moving, anchor handling and offshore drilling supply services for jack-up, platform and semi-submersible drilling rigs and drill ships. The company specialises in towing drilling rigs and provides Offshore Supply and Multi-Purpose Support Vessels for the deepwater and ultra-deepwater offshore oil industry, operating in water depths up to 12,000ft. While also operating internationally, the company's main market is in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) region, which is where the two new dual-fuel powered PSVs will operate.
With an LNG storage capacity of 290 cubic meters (m3), the vessels will be able to operate for more than a week at a time. They will carry 5,520 tons of deadweight at load line and have a transit speed of 13 knots. Their main function is to transport goods and personnel to and from offshore oil platforms and other offshore structures. To perform such tasks, it is essential that the vessels are kept in a stable position and that is why they are outfitted with a Kongsberg Dynamic Positioning (DP2) system. As a result of a decade-long business relationship, numerous vessels in Harvey Gulf's existing fleet are already fitted with Kongsberg equipment. While a system's performance is the main concern when choosing a vendor, Guidry emphasises good business relationships as another major factor.
"We all know that Kongsberg's DP systems are great. There is no question about that. I've had them onboard my vessels for 10 years without any major issues. The most important thing, however, is to build a good business relationship with the supplier, and I know I can rely on Kongsberg. Their local presence in this region is vital to ensuring the systems stay supported," comments Guidry.
In experienced hands
Kongsberg's delivery to Harvey Gulf's new dual-fuel vessels will include the unique GreenDP® control system, which reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by as much as 20 percent. GreenDP® control secures the vessel, allowing it to stay within a specified area of operation. This new approach is based on forecasting the vessel's motion, rather than acting on present conditions, using a method called 'non-linear model predictive control', which optimises the predicted vessel offset against the use of thrusters. By doing so, small and short-term disturbances that do not force the vessel out of its operational boundary are 'filtered out'. This allows for smooth control, which dramatically lowers peak loads – leading to less wear and tear on thrusters.
"The GreenDP® is part of Kongsberg's Green Ship Strategy, and fits nicely with Harvey Gulf's mission of building greener vessels," comments Executive Vice President of Sales for Kongsberg Maritime in Houston, Jon Holvik.Holvik emphasises that although LNG powered vessels are a first in the US, this is not the first time Kongsberg has made a delivery to vessels with this technology.
"We are very familiar with this technology," he says. "We delivered a full range of integrated systems consisting of automation and control, including power management system to the world's first ever LNG powered OSV, Viking Energy, owned by the Norwegian company, Eidsvik. So it's safe to say that Harvey Gulf is in experienced hands," explains Holvik.
Ahead of the curve
The first of the two vessels, which will both be built at Trinity Offshore Shipyard, is scheduled for completion in October 2013, and the second build will follow 90 days later. Compliant with the highest emission standards, the vessels are part of Harvey Gulf's mission of 'going green'.
"You won't find any vessels that have as low emissions as these. They comply with both current environmental regulations and laws that are planned but not yet enforced. We are trying to be as green as we can, and as environmentally friendly as we can. That's where the future is, that's where we're headed, so we want to make that commitment now. The emission requirements are going to get stricter and stricter, with expected tier 4 standards in 2016, so you might as well be ahead of the curve," says Guidry.
"Some might say it's crazy to spend an additional ten million dollars on each of these two dual-fuel vessels today, but we are not building our vessels only for today; we are also building them for future operation"
Shane Guidry, CEO and Chairman, Harvey Gulf International Marine
The dual-fuel engine technology has several environmental benefits. It enables the engine to operate on either gas or diesel fuel. This means that when the vessel is running in gas mode, there will be minimal environmental impact since nitrogen oxides (NOx) are reduced by some 85 per cent compared to diesel operation. Sulphur Oxide (SOx) emissions are completely eliminated since gas contains no sulphur, and emissions of CO2 are also decreased. As natural gas has no residuals, the production of particulates is virtually non-existent.
In addition to being powered by cleaner burning natural gas, the new vessels will achieve the so-called 'ENVIRO+, Green Passport' certification by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). This involves implementing ballast water sewage and garbage management plans, keeping logs and records as well as training on environmental practises. The vessels will also be constructed with certified environmentally friendly materials to ensure that no hazardous materials are released at the end of the vessel's lifecycle. In addition, there will always be a certified Environmental Officer onboard, dedicated to monitoring all these issues.
"Today's regulations demand that there must be someone onboard to monitor issues related to the environment, but this can be an ordinary crew member. Since Harvey Gulf has a so-called Target Zero strategy when it comes to accidents, we put great emphasis on the training of our staff to ensure safe operations. On these particular vessels, we are taking the safety level one step further, by ensuring that there is a certified Environmental Officer onboard each vessel," says Guidry.
A green series
Bringing LNG powered vessels to the US market is not the only first for the company. As part of the green strategy, Harvey Gulf recently launched the first in another series of Offshore Support Vessels, which will be built at the Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Florida. Although these OSVs will not run on natural gas, they will be the first in the U.S. to be constructed to the regulatory standards required for 'ENVIRO+, Green Passport'. In addition, two Multi-Purpose Light Construction Vessels are ordered that have larger cranes than most similar vessels in the industry.
"The construction vessel Harvey Deep-Sea is scheduled for delivery in April 2013, and will also be ENVIRO+, Green Passport Certified. It will be equipped with a 165-ton crane capable of lifting 100 tons at depths up to 10,000 ft. There are not that many vessels out there that can do that," states Guidry.
While Guidry believes that a change towards greener vessels in the market will take time, he considers it inevitable that with future changes of regulations, other companies will follow in Harvey Gulf's example. As the first company in the US with dual-fuel vessels, however, he expects added value and more business for Harvey Gulf.
"I think the future looks bright for Harvey Gulf. By building these new vessels now and adhering to our green strategy, we of course aim to reduce the harm for our environment, but we also hope to get more global recognition, a higher rate of return for our investors and to be better equipped for the future," says Guidry.