An Aberdeen-based subsea firm has been awarded a £30,000 grant to develop a specialist underwater tool.
Ecosse Subsea Systems was recently awarded the grant by Scottish Enterprise to assist in the research and development of SCAR, a specialist trenching plough designed to operate from vessels of opportunity, especially anchor handlers. With low mobilisation costs and no requirement for a crane or A-frame for launch, SCAR presents a reliable and cost-effective alternative to conventional towed ploughs and trenchers.
The equipment is ideally suited to a variety of tasks including pre-cutting pipeline and umbilical trenches to 2.0m, simultaneous cable lay and burial, landfall trenches and seabed feature levelling. It has an operational depth capability from dry land to 3000 metres and is specially built for rough and tough terrain. It also features a variable pre-set trench depth capability and can be used in “multi-pass” mode for cable trench depths of up to 3.4m. SCAR will be the only multi-pass cable plough in the world.
Ecosse Subsea Systems was established in 1996 to provide subsea technology, engineering consultancy and specialist expert personnel for the subsea oil and gas markets around the world. The FPAL-registered company moved to its current base at Poynernook Road earlier this year and key markets include North Sea, West Africa, Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico.
The company has an onshore staff of four and is headed by Turriff-born engineering expert Mike Wilson who has 25 years of experience and has worked in countless countries around the globe on trenching and pipelay projects.
For the year to March 31st 2010, Ecosse Subsea Systems saw revenues leap from £900,000 to £1.8 million.
Mike Wilson said: “SCAR is a simple yet effective tool which is low maintenance, quick and cost-effective to mobilise and demobilise. It offers to remove trenching from projects critical path, increased trenching productivity, reliability in seabed conditions too difficult for other ploughs to handle and flexible contracting solutions. A backfill solution is currently under design and will offer the same attributes.
“The Scottish Enterprise research and development grant will be invaluable in helping us to bring this technology to the marketplace and we look forward to the beginning of fabrication in the next few weeks and the completion later this year. “Funds permitting, SCAR will undergo extensive offshore trials and several potential customers have indicated their desire to contribute.
“SCAR represents a step change for Ecosse Subsea Systems. Our engineering expertise lies in trenching and pipeline installation, however this new piece of equipment allows us to become even more operations-based.
Mike added: “We have many other technologies waiting in the wings, including a partnership with Aubin on DeepBuoy deepwater lifting. Aubin are an Ellon-based chemicals specialist company and Ecosse Subsea Systems are the engineering and delivery partner for Aubin’s subsea gel technologies DeepBuoy and DeepGel.”
Adrian Gillespie, Scottish Enterprise director of energy and low carbon technologies, said: “By proactively helping Scottish companies get their technologies to market we can help generate more commercial success for Scotland.
“Ecosse Subsea Systems is an ambitious, internationally successful company and with this support it can continue to build on its reputation as a leader in the oil and gas and renewables sector – further raising Scotland's profile as a globally competitive country.”
For further information, contact Ecosse Subsea Systems at Enterprise Business Centre, Admiral Court, Poynernook Road, Aberdeen, AB11 5QX. Alternatively visit www.ecosse-subsea.com or call (01224) 289788.
Contact: Ecosse Subsea Systems
Phone: 01224 289788