Volatile Oil Prices Could Hamper Emergency Response and Recovery Vessels Demand

Nov 16,2018

The Emergency Response and Recovery Vessels (ERRVs) form a significant component of the Emergency Response Plan—implemented for recovering and rescuing individuals evacuated from offshore installations in the oil and gas, defense, and marine industries. The demand for emergency response and recovery vessels is expected to remain critical in the coming years, given the increasing energy demands. Emergency response and recovery vessels could take a hit from the demand perspective, owing to the oil price volatility. The current oil prices, across the globe has resulted in uneconomical oil and gas projects, further translating into reduced exploration and production spending. Trends suggest that with no substantial offshore activities, demand for emergency response and recovery vehicles could decline.

As Civil and Emergency Needs Differ, Key Focus Remains on Performance

Considering the criticality of emergency situations, boats intended for rescue operations will differ significantly from the recreational ones owing to their specialized use. As per industry experts, craft paneling must be avoided as it could mask corrosion and leak issues. The U.S Coast Guard uses an open and unobstructed structure for an efficient troubleshooting task. Additionally, emergency response and recovery vessels are expected to offer durability, ease of maintenance, and scope for in-house customizations, further having minimal insulation and optional features. Moreover, power and electrical choices in the emergency response and recovery vessels becomes paramount. Oversized raceways that can accommodate wiring and communication cables and also leaves ample space to pull new wiring through, are the preferred formats. Industry experts also recommend standardizing electrical and power plants across marine units along with using the same components including engines as the rest of the fleet. To up the performance of emergency response and recovery vessels, key manufacturers are making improvements in material and technology. For instance, the F-class emergency response and recovery vessels from the Balenciaga Shipyard, has electric hydraulic cranes having a capacity of 2 ton, search lights, and dynamic and differential positioning systems. 

Emergency Response and Recovery Vessels Association Expresses Concern Over Insufficient UK Seafarers

Oil and Gas UK in its 2018 annual report has warned against the impact of a ‘hard brexit’ and its further impact in skills shortage. The trade body is of the belief that North Sea services such as the emergency response and rescue vessels could take a hit. Non-availability of emergency response and rescue vessels could further translate into oilfield platforms shutting down operations and production. The trade body also said that emergency response and rescue vessels would not be able to operate in the absence of skilled engineers, in or outside the UK, considering nearly 7percent of the workforce deployed offshore comes from the EU. To keep the emergency response and rescue vessels operating, the trade body is also expected to hire EU workforce from countries like Phillipines.

Multifunctional Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels in Demand

Offshore support vessel operator Sentinel Marine is the latest company to add a multifunctional vessel to its fleet for its operations in the North Sea. The new multifunctional vessel is projected to perform supply and emergency operations. Currently, in dry-dock, the vessel is being upgraded to comply fully with UK standards. Considering the unpredictability of the offshore environment, companies are adding multi-purpose vessels to their fleet. Most of the emergency response and rescue vessels operating either supply or fishing vessels that are repurposed from the ground up. The Ulstein Group too has a multi-functional emergency response and rescue vessel, deployed specifically for oil rigs in the North Sea. Other than fulfilling rescue operation duties, the Esvagt Stavanger – SX123 model is also said to clean pollution of more than 1300 cubic meters, in a single operating time.