From whichever direction you approach Blyth at the moment, the skyline has been drastically altered by a futuristic feature that is causing speculation and rumour. Is it a new theme park ride or the set for the next Transformer movie?
The truth isn’t quite so fanciful but it is equally impressive. Initially shrouded in secrecy, as is often the way in the offshore sector, Northumberland based engineering firm Royal IHC Limited, a major Port of Blyth client and the UK arm of Dutch parent company Royal IHC, has released some details on the soon to be completed 2000 tonne offshore oil and gas pipe laying system.
The complex 80 metre mega structure, dubbed the J-Lay system due to the shape formed on deep water pipes by the system during installation, will be delivered following final testing in Blyth. The J-Lay can install pipelines with the equivalent mass of 2000 cars whilst
also dealing with the demanding environmental challenges faced at sea worldwide.
Supported by the Port of Blyth, Royal IHC recently completed one of the most complex mobilisation operations seen in the North East of England since the region’s shipbuilding heyday, as the J-Lay system was transferred on to a barge and raised into an upright
position for testing at the Port’s South Harbour terminal. Royal IHC’s recent move to Blyth has been seen as a key catalyst in Port of Blyth’s rapid development as a leading UK offshore energy base.
Conceived, designed, assembled and tested in the North East of England, the J-Lay system is a source of pride for the Stocksfield company and a clear sign that world class engineering is alive and well in the region.
Paul Hardisty, Managing Director of Royal IHC Ltd said: “The equipment that we are bringing to market is some of the best in field, and in many cases is setting the benchmark for the industry. Fundamentally, this success comes down to the talent and commitment
of our people and the company creating the environment where they can make our clients requirements a reality.”
Port of Blyth Chief Executive Martin Lawlor said: “The successful completion of the J-Lay system and the subsequent load out is testament to both Royal IHC’s commitment to excellence and the strength of the partnership between the company and the Port of Blyth. We’re proud to provide an offshore base for such a forward thinking company and look forward to supporting them further in the future.”
Once testing is completed in Blyth, it is anticipated the J-Lay will be ready for service around the world.