Leask Marine drills a ‘first’ for tidal developer

Leask Marine has installed the first offshore grouted pile with its Raptor Submersible Drilling Rig (SDR) technology in the Faroe Islands, for a Swedish tidal developer.

Leask Marine

This marks the final commercialization phase of the Raptor SDR, from concept, design, manufacturing, and full testing program complete with third-party verification, Leask Marine said.

The Raptor SDR has now installed a subsea anchor with a diameter of over 980mm weighing 12 tonnes, at a water depth of more than 80 meters in basalt rock.

The unit includes hydraulic stabilizers and its independent leveling systems, once reaching the seabed, allowing the Raptor SDR to install anchors in a single deployment in tidal currents up to 6 knots, Leask Marine said.

The SDR was launched from the Leask Marine multicat vessel MV C-Force using the company’s in-house Launch & Recovery Skid system and the vessel’s 55-ton A-Frame.

The Leask team was supported during the drilling operations by a team of specialist borehole drillers from Welltherm Drilling.

The project was led from its inception by Leask Marine’s Operations Director, Oliver Bethwaite, who was supported by Elsa Ramirez, Leask Marine’s Lead Project Engineer.

While the SDR was primarily designed and developed to operate in the most extreme sea conditions as a solution for tidal and wave clients, this drilling technology holds potential for the offshore wind, offshore solar, hydrokinetic, and aquaculture markets, Leask Marine said.

In addition, it has already proved itself successful at core sampling for offshore site investigation. Earlier this year the team managed to recover a 4.5-meter length rock core sample in a single drilled length. This custom-made length surpasses conventional standards, unlocking a new frontier for scientific investigation and geological analysis, according to the company.

Using this technology is also said to offer the market a substantially lower carbon footprint solution and reduce installation costs as developers move into multiple device arrays.

Douglas Leask, Managing Director of Leask Marine, said: ”This is a huge achievement for its first outing, drilling such a large size of pile, at over 80 meters water depth, on a tidal site. I am extremely proud of our team and once again the Leask team exemplifies why Orkney remains a world leader in the marine renewable energy sector in its experience and technical knowledge that is exported across the globe.”