Topaz receives vessel for $225m BP contract

Caspian Protector is designed for emergency recovery and response, standby duties and fire fighting. (SUPPLIED)

Topaz Energy and Marine yesterday said it has taken delivery of the Caspian Protector vessel to be deployed in Azerbaijan in support of a 10-year $225 million (Dh826m) BP contract.

Another anchor handling tug supply vessel, the 'Caspian Power' is due for delivery later this year.

The first vessel of its kind to be deployed in the Caspian region, the 61-metre Caspian Protector is designed for emergency recovery and response (ERRV), standby duties and fire fighting operations. It is equipped with three daughter craft and two fast rescue craft. It is also equipped with Dynamic Positioning capabilities (DP1) and will assist in the safekeeping of workers on various oil production platforms in the Azeri sector of the Caspian Sea.

Roy Donaldson, Chief Operating Officer at Topaz Marine, said: "The Caspian Protector is the result of a collaborative process between Topaz and BP to understand the client's exact requirements and jointly develop the technical specifications of a vessel that's uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of the operating realities of the Caspian Sea."

The financing for the vessel is provided by DVB Bank of Germany as part of a $84m term-loan facility including three other vessels on time-charter to BP.

The vessel was built by Malaysian shipyard Berjaya, and is currently being mobilised from Malaysia via the Volga-Don canal to Baku in Azerbaijan.

Topaz Marine, the OSV owning and operating division of Topaz, operates a fleet of 100 plus vessels and is one of the top 10 offshore support vessels (OSV) companies in the world. The Topaz Marine fleet comprises AHTS's, PSV's, DP2 cable laying vessels, ERRV's, Workboats, Flotels, Ice Breakers, Survey Vessels and a variety of specialised barges.

In 2009, Topaz achieved record results for the ninth consecutive year and posted revenue of $448m, Ebitda of $127m and net profit of $65m, demonstrating year-on-year growth of seven per cent, 14 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively.

The importance of ERRV's in oilfield safety services was demonstrated by Topaz in 2008 when a gas leak at one of the Azeri platforms prompted a rig evacuation of 211 personnel, one of the largest offshore evacuations worldwide. Another ERRV in Topaz's Azeri fleet, the 'Baki', was put to the test and the evacuation was safely executed by its crew in less than two hours.

Global supermajor BP is the operator of the Azerbaijan International Oil Company and is one of Topaz's largest clients.

In late 2008, Topaz won a 10 year BP contract for the supply of three OSVs to support BP's Azerbaijan operations. In addition to the Caspian Protector, the other vessels deployed against the contract are the platform supply vessel the 'Caspian Server', which is already in service.


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