Subsea specialist DeepOcean has been awarded a “significant” contract - the biggest in its history - for trenching services on a new energy project.
It will provide trenching and surveyor services on the £1bn West Link scheme, a joint venture between the National Grid and ScottishPower Transmission.
This will see a new high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable running more than 400km, mostly under the sea, to bring renewable energy from Scotland to homes and businesses in England and Wales.
DeepOcean will lay more than 560km of HVDC cable in water depths up to 165m.
Offshore works will begin in the second half of this year, with campaigns continuing into 2015 and through to 2016.
DeepOcean managing director Tony Inglis said: “We are delighted to be awarded this major subsea contract, the largest in DeepOcean UK’s history.
“This award highlights our position as a leading contractor of trenching services for long-length cable projects.
“Our large portfolio of advanced trenching assets was a key enabler to win this work, with both cable ploughing and jet trenching being performed.
“This project also secures backlog growth for DeepOcean and demonstrates the trust that customers place in us, to perform complex multi-year projects.”
This latest project comes just days after DeepOcean, which employs around 250 staff and contractors from its Darlington office, entered into a seven-year charter agreement with Maersk Supply Services for the next-generation new build vessel.
It will extend Deep-Ocean’s capabilities in the larger cable-laying end of the market, allowing the company to focus on major sea interconnector projects alongside its oil and gas work.
The specially-equipped high-capability vessel can accommodate 90 personnel, mostly in single occupancy cabins, and has a 7,000-tonne carousel.
It will be delivered from the Damen Galati shipyard in Romania.
And in February, DeepOceanentered into a strategic alliance with geotechnical engineering and off-shore drilling company Geoquip Marine AG.
It has acquired its own geotechnical drilling rig and bosses say the company has the potential to become a leader in the sector.
The partnership will see the two companies provide geotechnical services including seabed drilling and testing in the Greater North Sea and worldwide.
The seabed has to be able to withstand the weight and applied loads of man-made structures such as oil rigs.
New fields are being developed at greater distances offshore and in deeper waters, as oil and gas reserves closer to shore are gradually depleted - yet there isn’t enough competition in the area of geotechnical service provision, bosses have claimed.
DeepOcean chief executive Bart Heijermans said: “The off-shore geotechnical services market is under-supplied.
“DeepOcean through its strategic alliance with Geoquip, and its relationships with key customers worldwide, is well positioned to become a preferred provider and a viable alternative to the current segment leader in the Greater North Sea.
“We have several vessels in our fleet of 14 owned and chartered vessels that can deploy the geotechnical drilling rig, and we are targeting a number of opportunities in the off-shore renewables and oil & gas sectors”
DeepOcean has a global presence with offices in Norway, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico and Singapore. Services also include survey and seabed mapping.