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    PGS to build third generation Ramform seismic ship

    Vessel & ROV News // March 22, 2006

    Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) has announced that it has decided to build a new, third generation Ramform vessel and has signed an agreement for the construction of the vessel with Aker Yards, Langsten, in Norway.

    The new and improved Ramform class seismic vessel will cost NKr 562 million (approximately US$85 million), and is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2008, in time for the North Sea season. The company also has an option on a sister vessel at the same yard. Aker Yards constructed all of PGS' six existing Ramform vessels.

    This is the first PGS new build since the delivery of Ramform Vanguard in 1999. The new design builds on the proven capabilities of the current Ramform fleet, while introducing several improvements.

    The vessel will be lengthened by approximately 16m, giving higher fuel capacity and transit speed. A substantial power upgrade will significantly increase speed while surveying. The vessel will be capable of towing up to 22 streamers, and a range of technology improvements will be implemented to maintain or improve the efficiency of handling, deployment, retrieval and maintenance of the in-sea equipment.
    The new vessel is a key step in the implementation of PGS' HD3D technical strategy. The company saus customers are demanding clearer and more precise images of reservoirs on their producing assets. HD3D matches these demands by collecting sub-surface data at up to eight times the density of conventional 3-D surveys.

    To carry this out in a cost-effective manner, HD3D vessels need to deploy massive arrays of closely-spaced streamers. "Ramforms are unmatched in this mode, and the third generation Ramform will be able to extend that capability even beyond existing limits," claimed PGS, noting that this is the market segment which has experienced the highest growth in recent years.
    In addition, the new vessel is an important step in the context of fleet renewal in the seismic industry. There has been little investment in new capacity over the last few years, and much of the capacity recently added or planned in the near future is older tonnage reintroduced to the market or converted from other purposes to seismic surveys.

    PGS President and CEO, Svein Rennemo, said: "The strategic rationale for this investment is to further enhance PGS' productivity leadership in towed streamer acquisition, in general, and in advanced towed streamer acquisition, in particular. The third generation Ramform represents a great step forward in seismic acquisition capability. The Ramform concept provides a competitive acquisition platform with high productivity and low unit cost on conventional surveys combined with unique capabilities in high density/high streamer count operation. This advanced vessel will ensure that PGS maintains its leadership in seismic acquisition technology, allowing us to deploy streamer spreads of extreme size and flexibility."
    "In the process of evaluating new builds, we have looked into all other new build vessel concepts available in the market for charter, but have found none which meet our demanding criteria for success in this market for both near and long term."


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