Shiprepair & Maintenance: 3rd Quarter 2020
Over 70 marine and offshore projects were completed at Qatar’s Nakilat-Keppel Offshore & Marine (N-KOM) shipyard over the first half of 2020, a slight increase compared to the equivalent months of the previous year. Over 60% of these projects comprised shiprepair and maintenance work, for a wide range of vessels, including oil and gas tankers. As of June 2020 the yard reports having a steady workload, with over 20 projects ongoing, including repairs to various ship types as well as an unprecedented number of jack-up rigs.
N-KOM has also been involved in an increased number of offshore projects this year, supporting developments around Qatar. A spokesperson for the yard says: “We take pride on our expertise in handling offshore projects no matter the scale or complexity. The company has been able to further demonstrate and prove its capabilities, skills and capacity to support Qatar’s oil and gas industry.”
The company points out that it has remained fully operational throughout the global health crisis, putting in place enhanced health and safety measures that protect the health and safety of employees, contractors and clients.
However, the spokesperson adds: “The pandemic has led to higher freight rates for tankers and so some clients have indefinitely postponed scheduled drydockings. Yet the yard still remains busy and we are expecting the arrival of several oil and gas tankers for maintenance, routine drydocking inspections and ballast water treatment system installations in the coming months. We have also received enquiries from shipowners for vessels that are typically booked with yards in the Far East that are now enquiring about the availability of drydocking space at N-KOM.”
More than 10 LNG, LPG and oil and product tankers, as well as smaller offshore support vessels, have been booked into the yard between July and October this year, for routine maintenance, inspection and upgrade work. In addition, N-KOM has secured a contract for a major repair and modification project involving an FSRU vessel over the next few months.
One of the fastest growing areas of activity for N-KOM continues to be the installation of ballast water treatment systems and scrubber retrofits, with a number of significant projects for oil and gas tankers carried out this year so far. The offshore segment has also been positive with repair and maintenance work to 13 jack-up rigs ongoing as well as a programme of major modifications and upgrades for the Tidewater fleet.
An operational challenge for the yard at the moment is that, prior to any vessel berthing at N-KOM, strict measures must be followed as part of mandatory obligations set by the authorities, including additional requirements that go above and beyond typical compliance. The spokesperson commented: “This is a challenge we have been easily able to overcome as we have made safety a top priority with a number of extra measures incorporated into our routines.”
Social distancing and the application of appropriate PPE have been reinforced at the yard. Face-to-face meetings have been restricted and employees encouraged to conduct virtual meetings with clients instead. All deliveries of goods, including vessel spares, are subject to new protocols in line with criteria established by the authorities for entry to the yard.
Situated within the Erhama Al Jalahma shipyard complex, N-KOM is located in Ras Laffan Industrial City, 80km north of the capital city, Doha. This has proved to be advantageous to N-KOM as it makes it a largely self-contained facility, separated from other areas, thereby presenting a lower risk of infection.