Record-breaking half-year for Drydocks World Dubai

by | 28th July 2023 | Shiprepair & Maintenance - News, Shiprepair

Home News Record-breaking half-year for Drydocks World Dubai

Tanker repairs continue to dominate DWD's business, although offshore is experiencing an upswing

The first six months of 2023 have been well above par for the yard

The Drydocks World Dubai (DWD) shipyard has been operating at full capacity since the start of 2023 with a steady flow of orders for ship repairs and vessel upgrades. During the first quarter of the year, DWD received more than 60 confirmed ship repair orders and the yard is now fully booked until the end of August. Moreover, it reports an increased number of enquiries stretching out to late 2023, with high levels of occupancy for its drydocks seemingly assured throughout the year.

As of the end of June, DWD had either completed or hand underway around 150 repair projects, of which almost half were tankers. The remainder covered a wide variety of vessel types, highlighting its flexibilty. For example, DWD secured around 40 container vessel repairs within the first six months of 2023, which is the highest number of container vessel repair projects received during the first half of any year in its history. This strong business momentum looks set to be sustained over the second half of 2023, with DWD reporting a healthy order book of around 100 projects in the pipeline already.

The upturn in offshore activity regionally has also triggered an increase in demand for maintenance and repair work to jack-up rigs in the region, and the first half of 2023 was also the busiest ever for this type of activity. As of the end of June, DWD was dealing with 13 jack-ups simultaneously and is expecting at least ten more rig projects by the end of the year. DDW has to date this year secured contracts to deliver major upgrade projects for 16 jack-up rig refits, for a wide range of clients including Adnoc Drilling, ADES, Arabian Drilling and Seafox, among others.

Additionally, DWD is also going through a busy period in terms of large conversion projects. In recent months, the yard has bid farewell to the FPSO Firenze, which departed Dubai in April and is set to operate in the Baleine Field, off the Ivory Coast. This major renovation project was a huge undertaking for the DWD team, which completed it in just 15 months with six million lost time incident (LTI)-free man hours.

Furthermore, DWD will undertake extensive conversion, refurbishment and life extension works on FPSO Atlanta, which will be deployed offshore at Atlanta Field in the Santos Basin, Brazil. Also in the yard is the PetrojarlKnarr FPSO for modification, upgrade, repair, and life extension works before its redeployment to the Rosebank oil field in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf. 

DWD chief executive Capt. Rado Antolovic says: “Overall, our performance in the first quarter of 2023 has been above par and we expect this to continue for the rest of the year. This is thanks largely to increased demand in the market for oil and gas projects, which we expect to inevitably lead to additional conversion projects.”

Notable projects carried out at the yard over the first half of this year included the conversion of an Aframax tanker into FSO Pargo; the removal, rudder renewal and refit, and work on CPP propellers and tailshafts of the Boka Vanguard, one of the largest semi-submersible heavy lift ships with dual propulsion; the engineering, fabrication, installation and commissioning of a new fire-fighting system on the Seamic Paladin; installation of a new BWTS system on the McDermott DB 50 and an overhaul of its crane block; and the complete refurbishment of the Admarine 688, for which the yard will overhaul its drilling equipment and reactivate its rig after being stacked for five years.

Encouraged by positive market trends, DWD has committed to a significant infrastructure investment programme. This has included the development of the new South Yard, which will create an additional 70,000m2 dedicated fabrication facility. The yard will also add a 25,000tonnes load-out capability, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, and has developed the Safina berthing and docking facility for offshore support vessels, which offers additional drydocking space for vessels up to 110m in length.

As a part of its strategic yard expansion plan, DWD also opened a new berthing facility for rigs in early 2023. Additionally, pier ‘E’, which is at the extreme south side of the yard, is being extended by 250m to further increase berthing capacity.

The yard is investing in technology as well as infrastructure and has recently launched a digital transformation project to deliver operational efficiencies and improved customer service. Antolovic adds: “We believe updating our yard with automated technology and robotics is a powerful tool to support man-powered labour. Balancing our people’s skills with the latest technological advances is how we increase yard efficiency and our people’s safety, whilst reducing time and costs for the end client.”

In this push to further embrace new technology, DWD is extensively modernising its IT platform by implementing Oracle IT software. “From customer dashboards providing real-time operation insights, to the use of data for vessel optimisation or yard enhancement, we consider IT as a driver of growth and cost reduction,” says Antolovic. “Moreover, our IT systems are constantly being updated to enhance the performance of our operations at the yard, by leveraging the IFS Cloud to meet our growing enterprise resource planning and asset management needs.”

Antolovic believes the yard is already reaping the benefit of its digital transformation journey, which has boosted efficiency and enabled it to move away from a dependence on purely manual operations. He says: “We envisage that this will facilitate more streamlined processes, enhanced integration between systems, and expanded use of real-time data to drive optimised decision-making across the organisation. In addition, the project will enhance core technologies like RFID devices, and make use of emerging technologies, such as augmented reality and robotics.”

Sustainability is also inevitably high on the yard’s agenda. DWD is planning to be carbon neutral by 2040 and achieve net zero by 2050, in line with parent group DP World’s overarching sustainability strategy. For example, all yard equipment, including cranes, now run on dual-fuel engines while most generators have been changed to electrical ones.

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