Creation of a pipe-laying ship (PLS) for the Arctic shelf of Russia is an extremely important and actual problem because of the necessity of developing the rich oil and gas fields in the Barents and the Kara Seas. Perspective projects of sea pipelines construction in Russia and abroad, and also multipurpose use will provide the maximum loading of such vessels.
It was demonstrated that PLS parameters should be selected on the basis of optimizing both components of a pipe-laying complex (pipe-laying ships, auxiliary ships and coastal supply base), and individual stages of pipe laying: sea, coastal and shallow-water. Both a hovercraft, and a complex of floating facilities and coastal ones can be considered at the last stage.
On the basis of the developed database on PLS it was revealed, that existing vessels do not meet the requirements to the difficult conditions of operation in the Arctic regions. Comparison of PLS economic indicators for various variants: building of a new vessel, re-equipment of an existing transport vessel and an old PLS chartering, has allowed confirming the expediency of an essentially new type vessel creation.
The following directions of the further stages of sea PLS development have been formulated:
- A multi-purpose vessel or vessel for pipe-laying work only;
- Icebreaking or semisubmersible hull forms;
- Use of various pipe-laying techniques on single vessel;
- Techniques of pipe welding at different thickness and depths;
- Positioning systems;
- Provision with the crane equipment for transshipment of pipes and fabricated metals, and also for operations with a stinger;
- Selection of the power plant type and propulsion devices;
- Provision of the personnel shift.