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Sanco’s seismic support

Oilfield Technology,

It only takes one good idea to change an industry. Bjarte Slettevoll, Technical Manager of Norway’s Sanco Shipping, attributes that idea to his brother Ivar.“Back in 1996 my brother and I, were both working in seismic ships, Ivar as a master mariner and me as an engineer,” he explains. “Ivar saw that the seismic ships really needed a different kind of support. Then the seismic vessels operated with a chase boat, which was really just a traffic safety guardian. The seismic ships had to stop work and go back to port for fuel, provisions and crew changes. We thought that a more sophisticated chase boat could multiply the time on task of the expensive seismic vessel by providing refuelling, re-provisioning and crew change at sea. So we began with a converted trawler, then quickly moved up to a converted coaster, and then were able to get newbuilds specifically tailored to what we saw as the need.”

Growing operations

Today Sanco operates four modern seismic vessels and three purpose-built seismic support vessels. “Now we see the others copying our experience,” says Bjarte. “So we have stepped up another gear by having our own seismic vessels. That way we can supply a package to seismic operators of the seismic vessel and matched support vessel.”

Marine solutions for PGS and Dolphin Geo

Sanco today is still family-owned and operated and very much focussed on the marine aspects of seismic work. “We charter to the big seismic companies such as PGS and Dolphin,” he explains. “We provide marine solutions, that’s what we are good at.”

Sanco has recently retrofitted 15 t Vestdavit davits to two of its support vessels, which are on charter to PGS. “When we started a 3 t davit was enough,” laughs Bjarte. “When we designed our own ships we went for 7 t. Now we find we need 15 t. Workboats just keep getting bigger.”

Workboats have to be big to provide a safe platform for in-water cleaning of seismic cables, and the support vessel needs to be able to handle the same boats as the mother seismic ship. That way provision and crew transfer is easier and safer, and boats can be transported or moved around as required.

“We rely on good davits and we have a number of Vestdavit units in our fleet,” says Bjarte. “We like their kit, we know we can rely on it and they are like us, they have good ideas and stick to doing what they know and staying ahead of the others.”

Adapted from press release by Cecilia Rehn

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