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Conquering the seabed


Conquering the seabed


Vessel MV Lone, Type 183

ClientMarine Platforms LTD as

contractor for First

Exploration & Petroleum


Client-provided Midwater arch, riser

items (CPI) 26km of flexible flowlines and

umbilicals, 2 ROVs, deck

deflector, Reel drive system (RDS),

spooling tower, carousel,

Horizontal lay system (HLS)

Weight Midwater arch: 161t without piles

Riser: 27.2t and 30.5t

Spooling tower: 130t

Carousel: 1450t

Dimensions Midwater arch: 21.4 x 19.7 x 14.4 m

Riser: 51x 3 m

Spooling tower: 22.3 x 6.4 x 17.5 m

Carousel: diameter of 23m

Mobilization in Rotterdam (NL), Hartlepool (UK)

Rosyth (UK) and Lagos (NGA)

Project site Anyala and Madu field (NGA)


  • Transformation of MV Lone into pipelaying vessel
  • Spooling of carousel
  • Installation of midwater arch
  • Installation of flexible flowlines and umbilicals at max. 760m per hour
  • J-lay pipeline installation
  • No return journey necessary (all equipment on board)
  • Living quarter with total of 100 persons on board

MV Lone successfully converts into pipelaying vessel for First E&P’s Madu/Anyala Surf 1 offshore campaign in Nigeria

Oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1956, with production starting just a few years later. Since then, with some exceptions due to economic circumstances, the Nigerian oil industry has grown constantly to become a – global giant. Nowadays, Nigeria is Africa’s main oil producer: With 18 operating pipelines and an average daily production of over two million barrels in 2019, Nigeria ranks eleventh among the largest oil producers world-wide.

With its latest job in Nigeria, MV Lone not only took a huge step in supporting the Nigerian oil industry, but most notably got to demonstrate the diverse opportunities that SAL can facilitate within the offshore market. The innovative thinking of SAL’s engineering experts made it possible to use every centimetre on deck of MV Lone in order to transform the heavy lift vessel into a well-equipped pipelaying vessel for an important Nigerian offshore campaign.

Although the Madu / Anyala Surf 1 campaign was not SAL’s first offshore job in the waters of Nigeria, it certainly was a oneof-a-kind project: “It leaves us with great pride that we succeeded in transforming our heavy lift vessel MV Lone into a pipelaying vessel. This gave us the opportunity to get involved in our first lay project of flexible flowlines and umbilicals,” said SAL’s Director Business Development (Africa) Paul Okpurughre.

For SAL, the project scope included special purpose vessel (SPS) mobilization, the loading of a carousel and two reels, the spooling of flexible flowlines and umbilicals, the loading of a midwater arch, as well as the mobilization of a lay system for the J-lay installation. It also included the installation of the midwater arch on the seabed as well as the placement of the above-mentioned flexible flowlines and umbilicals in J-lay method.

The mobilization of MV Lone took place in Rotterdam (NL), Hartlepool (UK), Rosyth (UK) and Lagos (NGA) over a total of 57 days. In Rotterdam, the weather deck was reinforced with underdeck stanchions to accommodate the carousel, which weighed 1450 tonnes, as well as the pipelay tower and temporary living quarters with space for an additional 78 people. Two spooled reels were also added.

In Rosyth, umbilicals from three reels were directly spooled to the carousel. After sailing to Hartlepool for another transpooling of umbilicals to the carousel, the midwater arch, two rigid risers and four pieces of 25 m pin piles were loaded in Rosyth. The last stop for the mobilization of MV Lone was in Lagos, where two ROVs and other equipment were added to the vessel.

“It took thorough planning to mobilize MV Lone according to the project requirements and to make sure we were able to fulfil the project scope without having to return to port to pick up further equipment,” explained Paul Okpurughre. “It was quite an engineering challenge,” he continued, “but in the end, we succeeded in transforming our vessel MV Lone into a proper pipelaying vessel. All despite the fact that the beginning of the corona crisis made it quite difficult for all involved parties to get their staff where needed.”

The deployment of a 21 metre-tall subsea structure, the so-called midwater arch (21.4 × 19.7 × 14.4 metres, 130 tonnes), was carried out using MV Lone’s Fly-Jib. “To fulfil all project requirements, it was crucial to enlarge MV Lone’s lifting height and outreach. Luckily, we were able to meet the clients’ demands with our Fly-Jib and safely installed the midwater arch on the seabed,” said Paul Okpurughre.

Following the installation of the midwater arch, four risers (51 × 3 metres, up to 30.5 tonnes each) were lifted, stored underwater and later installed by another vessel. “In my opinion, the most exciting part of this project was the lay operation of about 26 kilometres of flexible flowlines and umbilicals. We not only did this in DP mode, using the J-lay method, and near a drilling rig, but also at a tremendous speed of up to 760 metres per hour – almost as fast as a proper pipelaying vessel,” explained Paul Okpurughre with pure excitement. “With a total of 100 people on board, and despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic confronted us with, I am thankful for the amazing opportunity this project presented us at SAL,” he continued. “Without the great teamwork of all parties involved and the collaborative efforts of everyone, it would not have been such a successful story to tell.”

The offshore work for the Surf 1 campaign took 30 days and marked a significant step in the development of the Anyala and Madu fields.


J-lay pipeline installation is used to place subsea rigid pipelines in deep water. The J-lay method is very suitable for deep water pipelaying because the pipe leaves the lay system in an almost vertical position, and the pipeline is only bent (once) during installation (at the seabed). This reduced amount of bending is beneficial for installing pipelines that are sensitive to fatigue.

Compared to other lay methods, J-lay has a relatively low production rate due to the single position welding of the pipe. The J-lay method is less suitable for shallow waters as this requires a departure angle close to horizontal.


The Anyala and Madu fields are in the shallow waters of the Niger Delta, approximately 40 km offshore the Bayelsa State in Nigeria. They are estimated to contain combined reserves of 193 million barrels of oil and 0.637 trillion cubic feet of gas. Both fields are planned to be developed with four conductor supported platforms (CSP) and a total of 20 wells. The offshore field development project is planned in two phases: Phase one includes the installation of two CSP, as well as the drilling of oil wells as well as oil and gas wells. The produced oil will be transported to a spread-moored floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.

Phase two covers the installation of the remaining CSP as well as a gas processing facility and additional oil and gas wells. Interconnecting pipelines will be installed to transport produced gas to the main CSP.

“This is the third large project SAL and MPL have undertaken in Nigeria together. The success of the installation on the Madu / Anyala project is a clear sign of how MPL and SAL continue to create value together.”

Taofik Adegbite, CEO Marine Platforms Limited (MPL)

“With the Madu / Anyala project, we see another significant domestic project coming together. Domestic energy supply and power security are crucial to Nigeria’s development. I am proud that SAL once again could venture with MPL and be part of this development.”

Paul Okpurughre, Director Business Development (Africa), SAL Heavy Lift

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