The China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (hereafter referred to as Sinopec) has just taken delivery of a FA XIAN6. The FA XIAN6 is a large ship, designed by Rolls-Royce, the world’s leading provider of power systems, and it is designed with the specific purpose of undertaking seismic research in order to identify untapped reserves of natural gas and oil around the globe.
The vessel is a Rolls-Royce UT 830 CD, and it is the very first of its kind to be built in the People’s Republic. It comes equipped with Rolls-Royce’s signature propulsion and power systems, alongside a modern automated handling system, used in the deployment of the seismic equipment.
Put together by the Shanghai Shipyard, the vessel is now in possession of the Shanghai Offshore Petroleum Bureau, part of Sinopec, who already have a number of survey vessels used to find oil and gas reserves using both seismic and geophysical research.
“3D Profile of Geological Features”
The UT 830 CD will be used in research missions, during which it will tow anywhere up to 14 cables (also known as “streamers”), each of which measure more than 7 miles in length.
This network of cables carries hundreds of hydrophones, which the ship uses to detect seismic waves sent deep into the sea bed, like sonar systems. This data gives a 3D profile of the geological features beneath the streamer network, from which it is possible to extract the locations of oil and gas deposits, which can be literal miles beneath sea level.
A Win for Rolls-Royce
Speaking about the ship’s completion, Anders Almestad, the president of Rolls-Royce Offshore, said: “The vessel design and advanced equipment on-board are developed to meet the high standards demanded by seismic research vessels, enabling the customer to operate safely and efficiently in deep seas.”
He went on to congratulate the Shanghai Offshore Petroleum Bureau on the successful delivery, claiming that the FA XIAN6 is “one of the most sophisticated Rolls-Royce vessels at sea,” outfitted with the best equipment from the marine suppliers.
Rolls-Royce originally won a £20 million order from Sinopec back in 2011. The FA XIAN6 is the first UT 830 CD equipped with the Rolls-Royce seismic equipment handling systems package. It has a deadweight tonnage of 4,637, and it can carry enough fuel to allow it to operate for up to 70 days at sea at a time, making it perfect for long marine survey missions.
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