McDermott swoops for vessel

Global contractor making deal to take newbuild pipelay and construction unit Ceona Amazon

McDermott International is poised to shortly consolidate a deal to buy the newbuild pipelay and construction vessel Ceona Amazon out of administration for just over $50 million.

Industry sources told Upstream that the global contractor is believed to be in the process of finalising a financial agreement to put the finishing touches on the deal.

Afterwards, McDermott is expected to deploy the vessel on jobs the contractor already has booked in the Middle East, potentially as soon as the middle of the year.

When sealed, the deal would address a long-term gap in the contractor’s fleet — the ability to handle the most sophisticated spooling and laying of riser pipes and umbilicals in the deepest waters.

While the company has ample existing installation and heavy-lift capability, as well as some pipelay ability, it could not serve up the type of heavy construction capacity that, for instance, is provided to Technip by the Deep Blue vessel.

McDermott is understood to have seen that need as long-term, but elected to take the opportunity to acquire Ceona Amazon when it arose. The purchase would come at a fraction of the newbuild price of the vessel — said to be in the neighbourhood of $350 million. It was built at the Lloyd Werft yard in Bremerhaven, Germany. The Amazon was once the prize asset of Ceona, a subsea contractor backed by investors including Goldman Sachs, but whose ambitions fell apart due to the oil price collapse.

The 655-foot vessel is a heavy-duty unit, equipped with a 570-tonne multi-lay pipe tower and a pair of heavy-duty 400-tonne cranes.

It is rated for both rigid and flexible pipelay operations in up to 10,000 feet of water.

The Amazon also boasts storage space for 5500 tonnes of flexible pipe or 8500 tonnes of rigid pipe, a major payload aimed at supporting operations in remote areas and limiting spool base transits.

Following the handover from Ceona, McDermott is believed to be planning an evaluation of the vessel, and may consider minor modifications, such as tweaks to the pipelay configuration.

It has not yet been decided where the vessel may ultimately spend most of its time.

McDermott currently has spoolbases in Gulfport, US and Batam, Indonesia.