Money Matters

Offshore Accommodation: An Increasing Necessity

The use of offshore accommodation in the offshore oil and gas industry is increasing. The search for new sources of oil has moved further offshore, older oil fields such as those in the North Sea need an increasing amount of maintenance and decommissioning is increasing. Offshore asset management is intimately involved in ensuring sufficient accommodation is available at the location where it is needed and in the correct time-frame. The decision to use accommodation located offshore is mostly an economic one. It is often cheaper to accommodate large numbers of people offshore rather than shuttle them back and forth every day.


Offshore Asset Management Helps Provide Accommodation Vessels Offshore

Offshore support companies can provide an increasing number and variety of accommodation vessels offshore. These different types of vessels offer an economic solution to support a wide range of offshore tasks such as installation, maintenance, upgrading, life extension and decommissioning of offshore oil platforms and production facilities. The ability to ‘house’ workers on or near the installations they are working on increases the actual productive hours that an operator can work by reducing travel time. Of course, safety is paramount here, and there are solicitors offering experienced representation in maritime accident cases when safety has not been considered as it should have 


The types of accommodation vessels available is increasing, with walk-to -work vessels that can be connected to oil platforms by flexible walkways being recent entrants to the market as well as more traditional offshore accommodation barges, accommodation vessels and accommodation rigs. As you might expect, the accommodation available varies in size and complexity. Smaller accommodation vessels might provide around 150 beds whilst larger accommodation units can provide up to 750 beds. The vast majority of offshore accommodation is produced using a modular construction system. The basic structure of the rig, barge or vessel is produced by one company whilst the accommodation is supplied as pre-equipped modules and fitted by another. This gives the designers and planners much more flexibility in what accommodation and facilities they provide on board and even opens up the possibility of changing the available supporting functions and accommodation to provide different solutions for different jobs in the same vessel. The quality of services available within modules has also improved. Some accommodation modules are available with ‘all mod cons’ even underfloor heating. 


Connecting Offshore Accommodation Companies With Charterers.

There are many different offshore accommodation companies offering a wide range of offshore accommodation solutions to the oil industry. Due to the high cost of commissioning or converting vessels, barges and rigs to provide accommodation units these companies typically have relatively small fleets, usually from 3 or 4 units up to around 8 or 10. This means the market is comprised of a relatively large number of potential suppliers. Oil companies or Charterers, who are responsible for hiring offshore accommodation vessels as an integral part of their projects, are either faced with a large and potentially bewildering array of accommodation solutions or they ‘stick with the companies they know’ i.e. they engage an accommodation supplier because they have used them before and know their working practices. Offshore asset management steps into this gap between suppliers and purchasers. They can connect oil companies and charterers with accommodation asset owners, even doing some of the ‘spade work’ for the charterer by matching a required specification to the known features of the assets that they manage. This gives the charterer knowledge of companies and assets they might not be aware of. It also gives asset owners more access to and exposure in the marketplace, i.e. increased commercialisation, leading to increased operations for their assets.

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