Gangway equipped: offshore support vessels, intervention vessels, construction vessels, and other mono-hull vessels, capable of providing gangway access to offshore facilities in exposed sea areas has great potential. It is playing an evolving important role in making new marginal yield field development economical, reducing exposure to risk, and extending the life of the existing oil and gas infrastructure.

Otherwise known as Walk to Work (W2W), this marine manning approach for offshore facilities can be used on a regular, fixed term, ad-hoc or exceptional circumstance basis. It is capable of providing significant benefits over existing provisions including: improved safety, increased workforce productivity, greater manning flexibility, and reduced lifecycle costs.

The W2W vessel can range from relatively small, fast workboats, to large semi-submersible ‘flotels’ stationed alongside fixed platforms. Within this range, it is the mono-hull vessel where there is the greatest opportunity for the oil and gas industry to realise significant (currently unexploited) gain. Depending on the capability of the chosen vessel, a W2W solution may offer: gangway transfers, hotel, hospital, helicopter, rescue and recovery, subsea and splash zone inspection, cargo, crane, fabrication and other facilities.

Offshore facility operators looking to improve performance by use of W2W; firstly need to fully understand their requirements; secondly, be open minded and innovative when looking for solutions; and thirdly, realise that to fully exploit W2W there are many aspects that need consideration to strike an optimal balanced solution.

This paper presents the potential significant opportunities offered by W2W, and discusses the main areas that require consideration during the requirement definition and subsequent development of a W2W solution. The paper references a recently released guidance document covering W2W which was developed within a joint industry project with fifteen industrial partners (DNV GL W2W JIP 2015).

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