Port Fourchon, LA ― According to sources, BP and Edison Chouest Offshore have reached a preliminary agreement to begin pilot testing a new high speed catamaran crew boat in the Gulf of Mexico.
The vessel, tentatively named the Fast Torpedo, is specifically designed to compete with large capacity transport aircraft such as the Sikorsky 92 and is slated to commence operations in July of this year servicing installations associated with BP’s Thunderhorse field.
“We’re expecting a tremendous cost savings in terms of logistical expenses,” says an alleged source within BP. “It won’t be nearly as comfortable for our employees and contractors, but the myriad financial benefits are simply too high to dismiss.”
While the boat is a new design, it borrows many of its attributes from the British Navy’s DDXGR catamaran program including dual Rolls Royce Trent 700 series gas turbine engines in each pontoon. Each three spool high bypass turbofan engine is capable of producing 15,000 horsepower allowing the vessel to reach cruising speeds of over 50 knots.
While the vessel will be fast, sources conceded that there would be lengthy delays during the crew transfer process to offshore installations. “With a capacity of up to 200 passengers, the Fast Torpedo will be able to execute multiple installation crew changes at the same time. However, we’ll be limited by the 4 man Billy Pugh baskets that many of our drilling contractors utilize. We’re currently projecting infield transfers may take up to 4 hours to complete.”
Scooped Report spoke with several BP oilfield workers on crew change day at BP’s PHI Heliport in Houma, LA to get their take on the proposed changes.
“Are you [expletive] kidding me,” said a crane operator from Covington County, AL who ask for confidentiality. “I’ll be [expletive] [expletive] if you think I’m going to ride a [expletive] [expletive] boat 150 miles offshore to make [expletive] crew change. If this happens I’m going to bust down that [expletive] [expletive] company man [name redacted] and drive my boot up his [expletive] [expletive] [expletive].”
Other employees we spoke with had a more measured response to the new program.
“Does this mean I won’t have to get drug tested anymore,” said another gentleman, a Dynamic Positioning Operator from Vallejo, CA.
BP’s current contract with PHI Helicopters expires in September of this year. If the new test program is successful, sources say the costs savings could be millions of dollars per year.