On the morning of 29 April, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group, China’s leading private shipbuilding enterprise held the ship naming ceremony at its Zhejiang Shipyard for GPA696, the global first fabricated model of Offshore Support Vessel(OSV) built for France’s Bourbon Company.
Afterwards, a sea trial event was also held for another global first fabricated OSV, the SX130. Attending this event were Ningbo Mayor Liu Qi, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Chairman and CEO Simon Liang, Sinopacific Executive Manager Lin Bo, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group CFO Jeff Zhang, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group CAO Cathy Jin and representatives from the bank, the shipowner, and the ship inspection department, who all witnessed the GPA696 officially being named the “Ungundja”.
The successful production of global first fabricated high-end OSVs such as the GPA696 and the SX130 by Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group’s Zhejiang Shipyard marks the entry of Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group into the ranks of manufacturers of top-grade OSV. This shows that the group has the technical capability to build OSVs that can operate in deep water, thereby establishing the group’s leading position in the field of OSV manufacturing.
The two models of the GPA696 and the SX130 are all IMR vessels, the typical class of high-end OSV. They are used for the inspection, maintenance, and repair of offshore equipment in order to support its normal and safe operation.
The IMR products manufactured by Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group are not only equipped with today’s most advanced equipment and systems, but the design standards followed were the highest specifications and most rigorous standards from Europe or North America, while the technologies used are all at the world-class level of science and technology.
The GPA696 was researched and developed by the U.S.A.’s GPA design firm to be able to adapt to deep water operations, and it uses the most advanced all-electric propulsion system and the DPIII system. It is also equipped powerful active heave compensated cranes, with lift/reach capabilities up to 150 t and 3000 m water depth reach.
The SX130 was designed by the world-renowned Norwegian design firm Ulstein, and its bow uses the unique X-Bow design, making it the first Chinese-made ship to use this type of bow. This design can guarantee level navigation and operations in adverse marine environments, providing higher safety. It can also lower ship resistance and reduce fuel consumption, thereby reaching the goal of energy conservation.
The SX130 is also equipped with ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) to bring about remote control of underwater robots from the ship. It can inspect, repair, and install equipment at depths of 4,000 meters. The SX130 not only can adapt to deep water operations, but it can even operate in the North Sea. In the offshore industry, the operations environment of the North Sea is usually more adverse, and the environmental protection requirements of the European Union are very high as well, so ships that are able to operate in the North Sea are considered to be of a higher class.
Previously, the design and construction of this kind of high-end OSV was basically only done in Europe and North America. It is the first time in this industry for a global first fabricated ship like this to be built in a shipyard in China.
Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group has an OSV global market share of one-third, which makes it the world’s largest OSV manufacturer. The successful construction of these high-end first fabricated ships proves that the OSV manufacturing capacity of Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group has been ungraded to a new level and that its product line is constantly extending toward high-end products.
Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Executive Manager Lin Bo gave the following reasons for why the group is able to obtain orders for high-end OSV products from European and North American companies. First is Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group’s technical capability.
They started to organize their own design team seven years ago, and this team has accumulated a great deal of experience in OSV design. They not only fully understand the needs of clients, but they can also do localized optimized integration for foreign-made design plans according to the actual situations of Chinese shipyards.
Sinopacific currently has developed four OSVs of their own design, including the SPA80 AHTS ,the SPP17 PSV , the SPP35 PSV and SPU1000 and has already received dozens of orders. Second is its world-class OSV construction facilities and modern shipbuilding style. Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group’s Zhejiang Shipyard has three world-class OSV production lines, of which two are indoor slipways. The lifting capacity, ground area, and comprehensive capabilities were specially designed for OSV construction.
Sinopacific’s modern product-oriented shipbuilding style of the organic integration of design, production, information, and logistics into one greatly improves OSV construction efficiency. Third is the integration of the capabilities of world-class designers and suppliers, which is the key for success in the field of OSV product manufacturing. Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group excels at cooperation with well-known foreign design firms like Ulstein and GPA and can transform their detailed designs into production designs that meet the local manufacturing conditions. Sinopacific also fully understands the performance levels of marine auxiliary equipment products of all world-class suppliers and can find the optimal combination for selecting parts when constructing OSV products.
Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Chairman and CEO Simon Liang explained the group’s secret of success on a more strategic level. After doing market research, the group set the product development strategy of “Leadership in Niche Markets” a few years ago when they saw that the bulk cargo ship market was full of competition but the offshore vessel market was relatively open. When the global ship market declined due to the financial crisis, many shipyards lost orders or even went out of business, but Sinopacific relied on its forward-looking strategy to calmly pass through the crisis and even received its largest OSV order of one billion U.S. dollars in 2010 after the financial crisis.
As the progress of global offshore oil and gas exploration and development speeds up and matures, the demand for OSVs is now constantly increasing around the world. As part of the offshore economic and industrial policies of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, offshore engineering equipment has been included as a key industry to receive strong support from the national government during this period. This will undoubtedly bring opportunities for new development for Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group, which already has a presence in the OSV market and has accumulated a great deal of experience.
The OSVs of Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group are essential auxiliary ships for large-scale offshore engineering equipment such as drilling platforms and floating production storage and offloading ships and can provide complementary functionality for large-scale equipment in the processes of developing, producing, and storing oil and gas. “It is like the commercial ship of offshore engineering because every project exploring for offshore oil and gas needs it. It has a wide range of purposes, and more than one type of ship will be needed, so I am very optimistic about the prospects of the OSV market,” said Simon Liang. With the other high end offshore vessel PX105 under construction, he is confident to speak so.
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