The E-Class jackup barge GMS Endurance

The E-Class jackup barge GMS Endurance

New design for GMS jackup barges

The company is helping meet increased demand for jackup barges with a newbuild programme that includes a new design able to stand up to harsh conditions

01 December 2013

Gulf Marine Services (GMS), the world’s largest builder and operator of self-propelled self-elevating accommodation jackup barges, has announced a strategic new-build programme that includes the addition of a new design to its current fleet ofnine jackups.

Four new vessels capable of global operations in the oil, gas and renewable energy sectors are planned and will be built at the company’s yard in Mussafah. The first, GMS Enterprise, is already underway with the project set to bring up to 600 new jobs to Abu Dhabi.   

The new S-Class jackup design will bridge the gap between GMS’ existing seven K-Class assets currently operating in the Middle East in water depths of up to 45 m and equipped with 36- and 45-tonne crane options, and its two E-Class harsh weather dynamic positioning (DPII) vessels currently working in the North Sea and suitable for worldwide operations in water depths of up to 65 m and with 230-tonne and 300-tonne cranes.

Anderson: cost-effective solutions available at the GMS Mussafah yard

The newbuild programme including the addition of the new S-Class was announced at Adipec, the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, which was held in November.

Duncan Anderson, chief executive officer at GMS, says: “We’ve seen a major increase in demand for our jackup barges over the last five years. As a result, we are currently building a third E-Class vessel in our yard in Abu Dhabi with this capable of working in even deeper water, up to 80 m, and with a larger 400-tonne crane; we also have an option to build another of these large units.

“In addition to this, we’ve identified a need for a jackup that falls mid-way between the two classes we already provide, and have produced a modified Gusto design called the S-Class.” The company will start building soon the first of three new S-Class barges and these will be ready for the second quarter of 2015.

The S-Class will have DPII and operate in depths of up to 55 m. However it will be a smaller and more utilitarian harsh weather barge than the E-Class. It will have 800 sq m of deck space, a 150-tonne main crane, a 15-tonne auxiliary crane, and will accommodate from 150 to 300 people.

A depiction of the new GMS S-Class jackup barge

The S-Class jackups will be used for well services in the oil and gas sector and for offshore wind farm maintenance, in northwest Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and West Africa.   

Through its new build and renewal programme, the company has ensured its fleet is the youngest and most sophisticated in the industry, currently with an average age of just nine years, compared to a global offshore average of 24.

Anderson adds: “The fact that we can build our vessels here in Abu Dhabi is absolutely key as this allows us to produce these sophisticated assets at lower than market prices. The state-of-the-art design and operational efficiency of jackup barges like GMS Enterprise and the new S-Class means we can also offer cost-effective solutions to our clients. This, along with our excellent safety record, is what defines GMS.”  

GMS, founded in Abu Dhabi in 1977, provides services to the oil, gas and renewable (wind) energy sectors from its offices in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and the UK.  The company’s assets are capable of serving clients’ requirements in the Middle East, South East Asia, West Africa and Europe. 

The K-Class jackup barge GMS Kawawa

The company builds and maintains its vessels at its yard in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, and employs around 400 people (internationally, onshore and offshore) with this increasing by up to 600 people in Abu Dhabi during a newbuild project. 

The seven K-Class jackup barges are currently on contract off Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.  The company’s two E-Class jackups are working in Europe: GMS Endurance for ConocoPhillips on an asset life extension programme in the Southern North Sea and GMS Endeavour for ABB on the Dolwin wind farm transformer substation offshore Germany.  

GMS, 79 per cent owned by Private Equity firm Gulf Capital, agreed a $360 million growth facility with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank earlier this year, which will allow the company to capitalise on the growing international need for its vessels.

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