By Ashley Fitzpatrick
A local company in possession of a new hyperbaric reception facility for deep divers has signed its first contract — signalling the official start of a new business aimed at supporting the offshore oil and gas industry.
Sea-Force Hyperbaric held a show-and-tell event in late June, placing the new reception facility on display for government representatives, company investors, potential clients and members of the media.
The company’s facility is stationed in a building at the NewDock yard off Water Street, near the
St. John’s waterfront. It is prepped to take 18 divers for decompression at a moments’ notice — in the case of a catastrophic incident offshore.
The business operates off of stand-by contracts and Sea-Force Hyperbaric now has its first contract, signed with Technip.
“This is Technip’s current offshore (Newfoundland and Labrador) saturation diving campaign that they’re doing this year,” company director George Osmond told The Telegram Monday morning.
Technip is performing work for Husky Energy, having landed two key contracts for the South White Rose extension project, running into 2014.
Offshore divers for companies like Technip go deep, typically living in sealed chambers onboard a diving support vessel for up to 28 days at a time. They transfer from the vessel to a pressurized diving bell to head out to work. The deep diving is called “saturated” diving because, under the pressure, gases are absorbed into body tissues, and the tissues become saturated with the gases.
The absorbed gas has to be released slowly after the dive.
The hyperbaric reception facility can be relocated as needed and the ability to move the facility around was part of the business case for the company.
The ability to move allows the company to consider stand-by contracts in other jurisdictions in the case of a slowdown in work offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.
The facility was built by Submarine Manufacturing and Products Ltd. in the United Kingdom.