Offshore ship base boosts Exmouth
Fugro TSM’s 137m ship Southern Ocean arrived off the Gulf of Exmouth at the weekend ahead of a month-long stint offshore on a BHP Billiton project.
The construction vessel has been moved to the region after its operator won the contract for the Pyrenees Venture phase three installation project, about 45km off the North West Cape.
Base Marine chief executive Nick Tutty said the use of Exmouth as a base for the Southern Ocean would provide a morale boost.
“Projects like this are so important for Exmouth’s economic sustainability, especially at a time when we really need it,” Mr Tutty said.
“It’s just been so quiet across the industry.
“BHP and Fugro TSM typically operate out of big ports like Dampier.
“So they’re testing the waters a bit and we’ll show them what we can do here.”
The Southern Ocean’s presence in the gulf is expected to provide flow-on benefits for many local industries including hospitality, freight and logistics, charter companies, engineering and wholesalers.
Shire of Exmouth chief executive Bill Price said the arrival of the Southern Ocean vessel off Exmouth highlighted the growing capacity of the town’s marine services industry.
“In recent years there has been significant investment in Exmouth’s marine supply and service industries and the town is now well placed to service the offshore oil and gas market,” Mr Price said.
“This is a positive step towards diversifying our local economy and providing additional opportunities for business growth and development.”
Mr Tutty said Exmouth was well poised to take on a bigger share of the offshore resources industry.
“Since coming to Exmouth we’ve seen what the capabilities of the town are and they are brilliant,” he said.
“We are just trying to package them and market them the right way.
“The vessel operators we use here are all class and the local freight-logistics operators are some of the best I’ve dealt with. I think a turning of the tides is coming where you’re going to find a lot of these offshore oil projects down our way coming online and maybe we’re going to be more convenient to use as a base than Dampier.”
The Pyrenees development comprises six separate fields — Stickle, Crosby, Tanglehead, Moondyne, Wild Bull and Ravenswort.
Work is expected to commence ahead of time in April and involves subsea tieback activities on the Stickle 9 and Tanglehead wells.