Vessels in N.L. for deepwater exploration

Magne Viking being tasked by Chevron for work at the Orphan Basin

Published on July 12, 2013
The TransAtlantic supply ship Magne Viking in St. John’s harbour this week. The ship has special towing and anchor-handling equipment and will be used in the deepwater oil exploration work being undertaken by Chevron offshore Newfoundland and Labrador this summer. — Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Oil and gas companies keen to explore new ground and delineate known finds offshore Newfoundland and Labrador are in the midst of the summer exploration season.

The work has a tendency to bring novel ships to St. John’s harbour — particularly when it extends out to sites in deeper waters, farther from shore than the producing projects in the Jeanne d’Arc basin.

The unique vessels can draw the eyes of people strolling along Harbour Drive and Water Street, as much as industry players in harbourview offices.

“Down at Pier 17 there are two platform supply vessels and right opposite Atlantic Place, there’s an anchor handler,” said Rob Strong, an oil and gas consultant who works in the downtown, after he contacted The Telegram this week.

Strong’s interest in the large, yellow and black Magne Viking was clear. He highlighted the vessel as an anchor-handling tug supply vessel.

Offshore supply ships more commonly seen in the harbour are multi-purpose vessels used typically for supply runs.

An anchor-handling tug supply ship is designed to be able to tow offshore drill rigs if needed and, similarly, handle massive drill ship anchors. The Magne Viking is in Newfoundland and Labrador for use in Chevron’s 2013 offshore exploration program.

“We will utilize three vessels in drilling the Margaree exploration well at (the) Orphan Basin: the Magne Viking, the Troms Capella and the Troms Castor,” a spokesman for the company stated in response to an email Thursday.

The Magne Viking is part of the fleet of Viking Supply Ships, an arm of TransAtlantic, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Troms Castor and Capella are both platform supply vessels. They are part of the fleet of Troms Offshore, based in Norway.

Chevron’s Margaree A-49 exploration well is located about 410 kilometres from St. John’s and begins 2,477 metres below the surface.

In comparison, according to the Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board’s schedule of wells, a development well recently started at Hibernia is being drilled at a water depth of about 80 metres.