Soil Machine Dynamics Limited (SMD) and Blade Offshore Services Limited (BOS) have completed a deal which sees the creation of a joint venture, SMD-BORD, and joint development of a novel technology for the installation of marine renewables devices on the seabed.
The unique technology makes use of a sacrificial double-skinned annular drill, which cuts more quickly than traditional full-bore cutting methods. This will allow piles and anchors used in the growing marine renewables industry to be installed more efficiently and within tidal windows. The technology offers an alternative to expensive gravity foundations.
Signature of the joint venture follows a series of dry trials in which the performance of the technology exceeded expectations. SMD will add its expertise in subsea engineering, remotely operated systems, and seafloor tractors to the innovative drilling technology developed by BOS in order to bring a range of remotely operated subsea drill rigs to the market. These will be tailored for different sizes and types of device and deployment methodologies.
Clive Adshead, Renewables Business Stream Manager at SMD commented: “Both parties are very pleased to have signed this joint venture, and we are looking forward to the final stages of development. I have been involved with the marine renewables industry for a number of years, and I believe that this technology is game-changing in terms of the installation solutions that the industry needs.”
Speaking for BOS, John Swingler, Director of Drilling Operations said: “We are very excited to be working with our partners SMD who lead the industry in Subsea vehicle technology. The SMD-BORD Joint Venture will provide the marine renewables sector with the cost effective installation solutions for seabed structures and permanent moorings which the industry has been searching for. We are at the birth of the subsea turbine industry and our innovative pile technology together with SMD’s proven subsea vehicle engineering will be seen as a step change in underwater device installation both domestically and globally.”
SMD and BOS were advised in the joint venture by Dickinson Dees and Ward Hadaway.
Ward Hadaway is a major North law firm with offices in Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle and is one of the UK’s Top 100 law firms. It employs more than 400 staff including many nationally recognised legal experts.
Dickinson Dees is one of the UK’s leading full-service law firms. With offices in London and North East of England and 630 staff, the firm provides legal services to corporate, commercial, public sector and private clients across the UK.
The joint venture will operate from SMD’s head office in Wallsend , Newcastle upon Tyne.