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Home » Orkney Marine Specialist Launches First of A Kind Submersible Drilling Rig

Leask Marine

Orkney based marine contractors, Leask Marine Ltd has developed an innovative Drilling Rig, to provide a cost-effective solution for the marine renewables industry.

The company has built the world’s first submersible drilling rig of its kind, investing £1.6 million in its R&D project, to develop this new equipment and create further specialist, industry jobs.

The project has enabled the company to design, manufacture, assemble and test the viability of a submersible drilling rig, suitable for highly turbulent marine conditions.

Leask Marine will target commercial opportunities in the offshore renewable energy market globally with the cost-effective and easily transported Subsea drilling solution.

Orkney has played a key role in Scotland’s growth of wave and tidal energy technologies and is home to the world’s most powerful floating tidal turbine as well as the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) – the world’s first grid-connected wave and tidal test centre.

Graeme Harrison, area manager at HIE’s Orkney area team, said: “Orkney has become the global epicentre of marine renewables research based around EMEC and this has led to the development of a skilled and experienced local supply chain. Leask Marine’s skills are in high demand and we are delighted to support them in extending their services to the marine renewable energy sector.”

Michael Cannon, Head of Innovation Grants, RSA and Open Innovation at Scottish Enterprise said: “Leask Marine Ltd is a fantastic example of an innovative company with global ambitions. Increasing business innovation is critical to maintaining Scotland’s competitiveness and helping companies compete in the global marketplace.”

Leask Marine employs 38 people in Kirkwall and won the outstanding service prize at the Scottish Green Energy Awards last year.

Market Benefits:
Leask Marine’s Submersible Drilling Rig (SDR) design will target a global market. Being the only submersible drilling rig of its kind and size, its design allows easy transportation for global mobilisation.
With the goal to reduce the use of heavy machinery, such as cranage and other similar services, the transportation layout of the SDR was designed to fit into a 40ft container and ensure a smooth and safe mobilisation, reducing project time, risk and associated costs.

Innovative Design:
From its early conception, the design was introduced to provide a simple and cost-effective solution for customers that required the installation of ground anchors and other subsea drilling operations.

Designed to resist harsh sea conditions, Leask Marine’s SDR can meet challenges in the marine environment, where conventional mooring is ineffective or have a high-cost constraint.

One of the main characteristics of the design (using experiences from proven technologies) is that in order to make it more commercially viable the overall weight of the Leask Marine SDR was kept below 28 Tons. This makes the equipment easy to adapt and drill from medium sized work boats or barges increasing accessibility and reducing costs for customers.

With the integration of four, hydraulic stabiliser legs and its independent feet to level the device once it reaches the seabed – ensuring a high-quality performance through the drilling process – SDR can complete the installation of a ground anchor in a single deployment in tidal currents up to 8 knots.

Leask Marine has been supported by a SMART: SCOTLAND R&D grant of £488,688 as contribution from SE towards the project costs. The project enabled the company to design, manufacture, assemble and test the viability of a submersible drilling rig suitable for highly turbulent marine conditions.

The company has also been supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise (SE). in the developing new equipment and creating new jobs.