A massive vessel that specialises in the decommissioning of oil and gas rigs has arrived in Corio Bay for reprovisioning and a crew change.
Easily mistaken for a drilling platform, the Helix Q7000 is in fact a Well Intervention Unit, designed to plug oil wells when they reach the end of their productive life.
Its work also includes the rehabilitation and monitoring of well sites after they have been shut down.
The Helix Q7000 sailed into Corio Bay on the weekend as it made its way to Lascelles Wharf, where it will remain until the end of next week as it takes on crew and supplies.
GeelongPort Head of Service Delivery Chris Anderson told Geelong Broadcasters we can expect to see more vessels like the Helix Q7000 in local waters.
“A number of oil and gas assetts off the south-east Australian coast are starting to get to the end of their production life,” he said.
“The operators will be seeking to decommission and make those safe.”
Built in Singapore in 2019, the Helix Q7000 has its own helideck and can accomodate a crew of up to 140.
With an upper deck measuring 70m by 61m – large enough to accomodate more than 10 basketball courts – the semi-submersible is capable of moving at speeds of up to 10 knots.
Its construction allows it to be used in particularly harsh environments including the notorious North Sea, one of the most treacherous in the world.
Mr Anderson said port visits by decommissioning platforms provided economic benefits to the region.
[They utilise] a large number of transport providers, and local supplies that are brought in – everything from fruit and vegetables through to specialist components, so the impact is quite far and wide in terms of benefits derived from this vessel coming into Geelong.”