World-Class Vessel Maximizes Well Intervention Collaboration
Well Enhancer, one of Helix Well Ops’ cutting-edge vessels, achieves well intervention objectives by improving communications with Clear-Com’s Encore two-wire intercom master stations, speaker stations, and wired beltpacks.
Helix Well Ops, a division of Helix Energy Solutions Group, is a global leader in subsea Light Well Intervention. Well intervention is a maintenance and repair operation that enhances the quality and extends the productive life of aging oil or gas wells. This industry leader possesses three powerful vessels, the Q4000, Seawell, and Well Enhancer, which were custom designed to reduce intervention time, minimize costs and effectively stimulate the oil and gas production of subsea systems.
Launched in 2009, Well Enhancer is the newest addition to the Helix Well Ops fleet and specializes in Light Well Intervention operations, supported by saturation diving, along with remote operated vehicles (ROV) and construction services. With over 100 crew members working on the nine decks of the ship and underwater, communications and collaboration are of vital importance for the safety of each individual and successful completion of well intervention procedures.
About Well Intervention
In the well intervention process of Well Enhancer, the deck mounted Multi Purpose Tower lowers the Subsea Intervention Lubricator to the subsea well while concurrently deploying both ROVs and a diving bell, which is a chamber containing the divers, to a maximum depth of 1,000 feet underwater. The divers and staff on the vessel then carry out operations including the replacement of flow control devices, building pipelines, and laying heavy concrete mats on the seabed. These undertakings require a constant exchange of information and rapid responses from crew members to smoothly coordinate the precise movement of heavy equipment and the vessel.
Difficult Connections Delay Execution
Locating a specific crew member on the ship is difficult since vessel-wide announcements can only be made from one location, which is the PA system stationed at the front or bridge of the ship. Alternately, staff can make calls to each individual room with their internal phone system, but the crew members would miss calls, given the high mobility demanded by their jobs. Either way, time is inefficiently spent traveling to the PA system or dialing and waiting for a call back. The delayed response from a decision maker can slow down workflow processes for other individuals and departments.
Unclear Communications Cause Safety Hazards
Although the combination of experience and good judgment is of utmost importance, they are not enough to carefully launch and recover the diving bell from the harsh waters. The Diving Support Team needs clear and reliable communications to ensure that the divers are not harmed by other perilous operations in the vicinity. Likewise, poor weather, turbulent waters and certain subsea bottom conditions complicate the coordination of the diving operations in conjunction with surface support.
Complex Operations Require Unified Collaboration
Since the crane is fixed onto the back of the ship, the entire vessel must actually be moved to bring the crane into alignment with where it needs to be used. Every department along with the divers must reorganize their own tasks and equipment to avert any potential challenges that could arise. Subsequently, they will give their approval for the ships’ relocation to further proceed. Clearly, each person needs a secure, direct connection with everyone else to cohesively orchestrate the arrangement of Well Enhancer and its crane.
Additionally, divers must remain interconnected with the vessel’s onboard staff to manage the lowering and lifting of heavy subsea equipment through the air and sea interface. The equipment can be easily damaged from slamming against nearby supplies and machinery when it is being moved by the crane or even from colliding with the violent waves. In fact, this transfer process has been identified as one of the largest sources of equipment damage. Successful implementation of this intricate procedure will prolong equipment life and save money. Evidently, unified collaboration between every member of Well Enhancer is fundamental to accomplish arduous well intervention.
The Intercom Solution
The success of any specific project depends on the quality of the well intervention as well as the diving and ROV services provided. To maximize this success, operations needed to be safe and cost effective. Considering the challenges they faced at sea, the Helix Well Ops team knew that its choice of intercom systems would have a big impact on their operations and of course, business outcomes. They chose Clear-Com since it was highly recommended by system integrators for its leadership role and over forty years of experience in providing intercom technologies. Evidently, Helix Well Ops knew they could depend on Clear-Com because its systems have proven to be effective communication solutions for critical applications around the world.
Clear-Com EncoreTM two-wire partyline systems were the primary intercom technologies installed throughout the vessel. Two Encore master stations were installed in Deck 8 and one was installed in Deck 2. 38 speaker stations were integrated with Encore via CAT5 and set up throughout the nine decks to interconnect the Bridge Room, Kenz Crane EXT, the Well Intervention Control Room, ROV Control Room, and more. They also acquired three wired beltpacks to be used by the Diving Support Team. This entire solution extended communications capability across the entire vessel, seamlessly linking all crew members under a simplified intercom platform.
Clear-Com’s intercom solution bolstered rapid decision making and action, minimized hazards and improved collaboration on Well Enhancer. With Clear-Com, Well Enhancer was able to provide their clients with effective well intervention services, cementing its reputation in the industry as a first rate Light Well Intervention and diving support vessel.
Accelerated Decision Making for Higher Productivity
Crew members can conveniently contact individuals or make vessel-wide announcements using any of the speaker stations installed on all nine decks of the ship. They no longer need to waste time going to the PA system to share information with everyone, dispatch foot messengers to find individuals, or experience delays in responses from missed calls. With the push of a key, the Well Enhancer team can now easily and directly reach the point of contact, accelerating decision making, action and completion of the overall operation.
With the Clear-Com wired beltpacks, the Diving Support Team is able to safely navigate the deployment of the diving bell because they can clearly hear and follow instructions the first time they are given.
The divers’ helmets, which have built in microphones and speakers, are linked to the master stations though an umbilical, enabling the divers to correspond with the Dive Supervisor. The Dive Supervisor communicates over a speaker station to direct all the ship’s staff to either move the vessel to reposition the crane or to coordinate the transporting of equipment into and out of the sea. With the intercom systems interconnecting the entire crew and divers, coordination is synchronized. Thus, the vessel and equipment can be securely and quickly moved, saving time and money.
Lee Bell, Well Enhancer’s Electrical Technical Officer, succinctly sums up the impact of Clear-Com on Well Enhancer’s operations, “Clear-Com systems are always clear, enabling safety and a thorough exchange of information. They are nothing less than crucial for our critical applications.”