Thor is ready for rapid expansion — with four new seismic support vessels under construction and the option of ordering more, plus a set of new chase boats on the drawing board specially designed to work with the new SSVs.
Faroese offshore shipping company Thor has a record-breaking fleet renewal program underway after the largest business deal in its history — a longterm contract with Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services — was signed in late 2012. The contract was sealed with Thor’s shipbuilding order of four new state-of-the-art seismic support vessels; furthermore, additional newbuild orders could be forthcoming.
The PGS deal, which comes with an option to extend the contract or add more vessels to a similar contract, clears the way for Thor to increase its service capacity and expand its market reach, said Managing Director of Operations Gunnbjørn Joensen.
Meanwhile, according to Mr. Joensen, Thor is also considering to order a set of new chase boats, purpose-built to work with the new SSVs.
With construction progressing according to plan at Turkey’s Besiktas Shipyard, the first of the four 64.4 meter SSVs is scheduled for delivery this autumn (2014) and the last one by May 2015. The vessels will be operated by Thor and chartered by PGS on 10-year time charter contracts with option for extension.
The four new SSVs will require up to more than 70-80 additional officers and crew.
“We are very pleased with this contract, which is the largest in the history of our company,” Thor CEO Hans Andrias Joensen stated earlier.
“Thor has been providing services to PGS for the last 14 years and the cooperation has been very good. We view this contract and opportunity as a great compliment and endorsement from PGS, inspiring us to continuously provide the high quality and flexible services that is expected of us.”
The fleet renewal will consolidate Thor’s position as a leading vessel owner/operator in its field, while at the same time strengthening its engagement with PGS, one of the company’s main business clients.
With operations worldwide, PGS is known as a focused marine geophysical company providing a broad range of seismic and reservoir services, including acquisition, processing, interpretation, and field evaluation. Headquartered at Lysaker, Norway, the company also possesses the world’s most extensive multi-client data library.
‘Expert assistance’: The new SSVs will provide support for PGS’ fleet of seismic vessels during operations, covering offshore bunkering, crew change assistance, supply of provision and spare parts, as well as support during in-sea maintenance of seismic equipment.
Adding necessary support for PGS’ new Ramford Titan class vessels, the SSVs are purpose designed for seismic support services to improve efficiency at sea for seismic vessels.
Thor’s new vessels offer a wide range of capabilities, including ice class 1A, passenger capacity for transporting a full seismic crew, extra work boat, towing capability and ability to carry and transfer fuel oil at sea, PGS and Thor said in a joint statement.
“Equipped with modern, efficient propulsion systems, the vessels will be performing their tasks with minimal fuel consumption, enabling fuel cost savings up to 60 percent from the vessels we use today, and further enhancing PGS’ cost efficiency in marine seismic operations.”
PGS CEO Jon Erik Reinhardsen commented: “The new line of support vessels will ensure a safer and more efficient level of support to our seismic fleet. Our long standing cooperation with Thor makes us comfortable that the vessels will be operated in the most efficient manner, ensuring high standards in HSE
In addition to delivering support services worldwide for marine seismic operations, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, cable laying operations, and marine research activities, Thor provides ship agency services in the Faroe Islands and is also well-known as an owner/operator of fishing vessels.
To help international shipowners who use the Faroe Islands International Ship Register (FAS), Thor likewise offers a management and fulfillment service out of its offices in Hósvík, Faroe Islands. “The FAS registry is attracting a growing number of primarily Scandinavian vessels, not least for its fiscal and operational advantages,” Mr. Joensen said.
“In this context we provide expert assistance to shipowners who want to conduct business under Faroese jurisdiction.”