The Highlands and Islands has one of the UK’s leading facilities for Inspection, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) of offshore mobile drilling rigs.
The Invergordon Service Base in the Cromarty Firth has been used by all major drilling contractors working in the North Sea and West of Shetland, with an annual IRM usage rate of 300 rig days alongside.
The base is an open user facility where oil-related companies can employ their own engineering and fabrication services, as well as using other local service providers. Internationally-known companies are also available locally to manage complete projects.
The Invergordon Service Base is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Some of its key features are:
When the Ensco 80 jack-up rig arrived for servicing at the base, it was the ninth rig project in 2009 for the Global Energy Group, which secured the maintenance and upgrade works on the structure, and others including the Borgsten Dolphin and Transocean Rather rig.
Meanwhile, Port Services Group of Invergordon undertook IRM work on the Safe Scandinavia offshore accommodation service rig, on behalf of Prosafe Offshore, within the Queen’s Dock at the Invergordon Service Base. Port Services Group’s investment in a £5m, 1,000 tonne-class lattice-boom heavy-lift crane has helped boost their competitiveness, and the attractiveness of the Cromarty Firth, for IRM.
The newly-formed Cromarty Firth Supply Chain Partnership (CFSCP) of local companies supported the successful contract bid by Port Services. The partnership was set up as a delivery and marketing vehicle comprising all the specialist skills and services required to fulfil IRM contracts.
IRM work is demanded by the classification societies, the oldest of which is Lloyds Register of Shipping (1760), who require the mobile rigs to have regular surveys, typically undertaken between drilling contracts.
These classification societies monitor standards in construction and classification of ships and offshore structures, and survey vessels in service to ensure compliance.