West Perth-based Tensa this week won one of its two $20,000 Innovation Voucher program grants from National Energy Resources Australia for its system which enables the gangway on the smaller vessel to match the motion of the larger vessel when transferring people and cargo.
Tensa represents Norway's Uptime for heave compensated gangways and helidecks for offshore oil and wind facilities.
Tensa's AHCP is designed to be used in conjunction with Uptime's 12m and 15m aluminium gangways for offshore transfer, ideal for transfers from a moving vessel to other vessels and fixed structures, and to high wharves and where tidal variation is large.
Compact and easy to mobilise, the system can be secured to the deck using standard container twist-locks allowing for speedy installation and removal.
Recent helicopter fatalities have prompted oilers to look at safer and more cost-effective ways of moving people between locations, and Tensa has figured out a way to couple that with transporting cargo, director Derick Markwell told Energy News.
"The cost benefit is, instead of having a fortnightly boat from Dampier and two services a week with helicopter, with this system we can give them personnel and up to two sea containers of cargo by boat daily," Markwell said.
To do something similar in the North Sea operators need a big boat that costs upwards of $5 million each and weigh at least 35 tonnes. Tensa is looking at $1 million for the whole system, weighing about 12t.
Tensa is working on developing the technology in Exmouth with Base Marine, which is working with Project Symphony partners Woodside, Quadrant and BHP.
Tensa owns a gangway in Perth, and to make it work in an offshore environment for reasonable uptime of about 90% or greater, it needs to add a heave compensated pedestal so it can handle larger vessel motions to hold the gangway stable relative to the seabed.
This way, as the boat rises the gangway falls, and vice versa.
"We're not doing anything that's really rocket science, it's [trying to change] the mentality overseas of trying to do everything big and expensive instead of trying to focus on lighter vessels," Markwell said.
"Once you reduce the weight of this you end up using a smaller vessel that requires lower capital, uses less fuel, goes faster and you start to win all the way down the line, providing the technical solution can be made to work.
Markwell has been trying to do things simpler since his days with WAPET in the 1990s with the Yammaderry, Cowle, Roller and Skate fields and Apache's String of Pearls, where he was instrumental in the small monopod structures used, right from day one.
"In the high oil price environment where the mentality was to get the project done at any cost, the mentality to do things simpler and cheaper has been lost, but it's now being rediscovered," Markwell said.