On Wednesday 8th of November, Ampelmann hosted the fourth annual Walk to Work Seminar at the Chester Hotel in Aberdeen. The event brought together more than 100 delegates from across the oil, gas and renewables sectors to learn more about the latest innovations in personnel transfer as well as global industry activity to keep the workforce moving safely and efficiently.
Ampelmann founder and CEO, Jan van der Tempel, opened the event with a short presentation highlighting the company’s latest innovations. Mr Van der Tempel also stressed the growing importance of offshore wind stating: "We need a sustainable offshore wind industry and for the first time since starting our seminars back in 2014, we have emphasised the opportunities that W2W solutions have to offer to support and strengthen the offshore wind market."
Philip Wendt, Head of Logistic Asset Management with SiemensGamesa Renewable Energy, followed the theme of W2W in offshore wind in the first presentation of the day. He detailed the value in gangway solutions, noting that the SiemensGamesa has ten W2W vessels currently active in the market today: a number they only see growing. Mr Wendt concluded by highlighting the safety and reliability of using W2W gangway solutions and how these factors provide valuable efficiencies to offshore wind projects: "The combination of high performing W2W gangways and capable DP2 vessels is a significant contributor in reducing the cost of energy for offshore wind."
The varied presentations also saw Keith Forrest, who recently retired as Shell’s Global Category Manager - Marine, provide insight into W2W contracting strategies and presented an overview of Shell’s current Framework Agreement with Ampelmann. Mr Forrest is an advocate of Ampelmann systems, and highlighted their flexibility and reliability in a range of situations. "As an example Shell have had for two million transfers using gangways to date, this accounts for 50% of the almost four million transfers Ampelmann has completed globally to date, clearly showing just how closely the two companies have worked together in recent years."
Marcel Roelofs, CEO and founder of Chevalier Floatels, examined the future of W2W and forecasted decreasing helicopter use in the years to come, with cost reduction pressures moving operators into more W2W campaigns. Mr Roelofs predicts increasing use of W2W solutions in the next two years with offshore wind projects playing a huge role in this. He explained: "The first windfarms are getting older, and we know as things get older, they need more maintenance and this requires more people on the turbines. This factor, along with the increasing number of wind farms currently in development in the US, Europe and Australia means W2W solutions will see increased demand."
Tender Manager, Roeland Fiolet presented on behalf of global dredging and marine experts, Boskalis. Mr Fiolet discussed the benefits and challenges of using W2W solutions for personnel transfer on Decommissioning projects. He emphasised how gangway systems can provide increased workability and reliability for both short and long-term projects. “Although challenges remain in pre-defining requirements for landing points, the capacities of the gangway can provide a good solution for technical challenges. Operational input during the engineering phase is therefore essential.”
In the afternoon session, Guy Haslam, took to the podium to discuss a successful Repsol Sinopec Resources Ltd W2W campaign on the Bleo Holm FPSO, conducted this year. The presentation highlighted the success of Ampelmann’s E1000 gangway which achieved more than 90% uptime and over 8,000 transfers over 104 days.
To give the captive audience insight into the preparation aspect of using W2W gangway solutions, Andy Peters, W2W representative from APEXE Ltd, provided an overview of planning and offshore management during a W2W campaign. He highlighted key points including the logistics and documentation required, how to mobilise effectively and carry out crew changes whilst offshore. Mr Peters stated: “The Ampelmann is a safe and efficient transfer system. Throughout any campaign there is a hot debrief post transfer, with the W2W team (W2W Rep, Ampelmann operators and Bridge Team), to identify lessons; both good and bad. These are recorded, disseminated and implemented.”
Oscar Calkoen, manager Innovations and Engineering at Ampelmann completed the day with a presentation which gleaned insight into the company’s plans for continued innovation the coming years. He presented new products currently in production for the offshore wind and crew change market with smaller vessels. Other motion compensation applications are the stable laydown platform and fluid transfer using the gangway. Recently Ampelmann added Data Services to its portfolio: “By using system data we can periodically provide insights to our clients into their W2W operations and personnel tracking.” Mr Calkoen closed off with detailing the development areas for the future in reduction of gangway weight and energy consumption, increase cargo transfer capacity and automation of the complete W2W operation.
Throughout the day, the presentations and valuable discussions in the room only proved that W2W operations will continue to see increasing demand in the coming years, with particular areas for growth in the offshore wind industry, where there are increasing demands due to maintenance campaigns and the development of new projects.
Mr Van der Tempel commented: “This year has been hugely successful for Ampelmann. We have celebrated our ten-year anniversary with enhanced offerings and new product launches to meet client demand. In the year ahead, we look forward to accelerating our growth within the crew change market and continuing to innovate our systems to ensure the latest technology is taken to market for safe and efficient people transfers."
We are thankful to all of our speakers and attendees for making the fourth annual Walk to Work Seminar a success and we look forward to welcoming you again next year.