Offshore contractor Allseas has postponed the announced construction of a larger successor to the offshore platform remover Pioneering Spirit indefinitely. Before the corona crisis and the implosion of the oil price, the huge vessel was scheduled to come into service around 2025.

Given the estimated construction time of four years, construction should have started as early as next year. Spokesman Jeroen Hagelstein says that the ‘thinking’ about the mega project and a number of design meetings are still continuing as planned, but that it has been decided not to enter into any financial commitments for the construction for the time being. That decision is part of a previously announced reorganisation, in which the workforce will be downsized by 300 people and investments will be postponed as much as possible.

The Amazing Grace, as the ship has already been christened on paper, should be 1.5 times the size of the Pioneering Spirit that was commissioned four years ago. With a length of 382 metres and a width of 124 metres, it is the largest self-propelled structure on earth and required a total investment of 2.8 billion euros.

Too small

Allseas decided to build an even larger ship, after it had become clear that the Pioneering Spirit was too small for the removal of the largest offshore structures on the North Sea. The limitation follows from the width of 59 metres between the two hulls, between which the platforms have to be picked up. This proved to be too small even during construction, which is why the catamaran was widened by seven metres during construction.

The installation of the so-called jacket lift system on the Pioneering Spirit, with which frames of 20,000 tonnes can be picked up, will continue, but will also be pushed into the future as much as possible. According to Hagelstein, parts have already been installed, but the remainder will be carried out as close as possible to the moment the first job has to be done, in the summer of 2022.

This article first appeared in Dutch on Nieuwsblad Transport, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.

Picture by Allseas.