Ampelmann, the global offshore access provider, has secured a contract with Dutch shipyard Royal Niestern Sander, member of the Royal Wagenborg Group, for the sale of a winterised A-type, a new motion compensated gangway system that combines the features of the original A-type with the ability to operate in extreme cold weather. The system will be installed on the first shallow draft ice-breaking Walk to Work (W2W) vessel that the shipyard is currently developing.
The combination of the winterised A-type and the vessel will operate off the East Coast of Sakhalin, Russia. Both solutions are to be delivered at the end of 2021.
A joint solution for year-round operations
By joining forces, Ampelmann and Royal Niestern Sander will provide the oil and gas industry in Sakhalin with a bespoke W2W solution that can operate in the summer as well as in the extreme-cold winter months. It will enable year-round crew change services for up to 40 people from the shallow Nabil Port to offshore platforms near the coast. The winterised A-type system will account for the safe transfer of the crew to and from those platforms.
The new Ampelmann system is based on the proven technology and track record of the original A-type and utilises the winter-proof features of the N-type. It is, thus, able to compensate waves up to 3 metres Hs and allow for safe and comfortable transfers at temperatures as low as -30° C. Similarly to the N-type, this system is designed with most essential equipment being placed in a temperature-controlled engine room under the hexapod, the transfer deck is covered, and outside components are equipped with covers and heat tracing.
The system will have two operating modes, in which it will be placed midship during the summer to ensure the highest motion compensation capabilities, and towards the stern of the vessel during the winter to accommodate people transfers while ice breaking.
“We are excited to have formed this partnership with Royal Niestern Sander as, together, we can provide a solution that meets the specific needs of the local oil and gas market in Sakhalin,” says Joeri Poelmann, Ampelmann’s Area Manager Sales for the Asia Pacific. “We have years-long experience enabling safe offshore access in the area with both our A- and N-types, which we can now expand on with our second winterised system – and the third system working in Sakhalin.”
Experience and local presence in Sakhalin
Ampelmann has been operating in Sakhalin since 2014 when it started working with oil and gas company Sakhalin Energy to provide offshore personnel with an innovative and reliable means to access their platforms at sea. The company initially utilised the Ampelmann A-type system on a dedicated accommodation support vessel, which has been on charter since 2014 for the non-ice summer season.
Since 2017, the two companies have been working together during the harsh winter season as well, with the help of the N-type system, designed to operate in arctic temperatures. In total, these systems have enabled over 200,000 safe personnel transfers to date.
To accommodate the growth of its operations in the area, Ampelmann also opened a local office in Sakhalin in early 2019 and has since been supporting clients on the ground with both ongoing and new projects.
“It is great to join forces again with Royal Niestern Sander,” says Jan van der Tempel, CEO of Ampelmann. “Previously, we developed the Kroonborg and Kasteelborg expanding the W2W concept in the North Sea together with Wagenborg. This vessel will bring that joint expertise to Sakhalin.”
The development and sale of the winterised A-type system are a first step in Ampelmann’s strategy to bring W2W to a larger number of vessels and offshore operations in a changing market. By focusing on sales, combined with an excellent services package, the company will continue to establish W2W as the norm in the industry and make offshore access as easy as crossing the street.