"Saturation" simply refers to the fact that the diver's tissues have absorbed the maximum partial pressure of gas possible for that depth as a result of the diver having been exposed to breathing gas at pressure for a prolonged period. This is significant because once the tissues become saturated, the time to ascend from depth and to decompress safely will not increase with further exposure. This means that SAT diving enables divers to live and work at depths greater than 50 m for days or even weeks at a time. It is a type of diving that allows for greater economy of work and enhanced safety for the divers, since, after working in the water, the divers can rest and live in a dry pressurized habitat on the ocean floor at the same pressure as the work depth. The diving team is compressed to the working pressure only once, and decompressed to surface pressure once.
The risk of decompression sickness as well as nitrogen narcosis means that it is typical for saturation divers to breathe a mixture of helium and oxygen (known as Heliox). Such allows diving at depths between <>20msw and >600msw and permits that divers remain in the saturated state for 28 days working no longer than 6 hours in water.
Team size consist of a minimum of two Diving Supervisors, one Life Support Supervisor, 1 Life Support Technician, two divers, two stand-by divers on the surface that are saturation qualified, and a dive technician, however may be increased based on the task at hand as well as any formal risk assessment carried out.
Major components of a SAT diving system include;
- Personnel Transfer Capsule - The PTC is a spherical, submersible pressure vessel that can transfer divers in full diving dress, along with work tools and associated operating equipment, from the deck of the surface platform to their designated working depth.
- Deck Decompression Chamber (DDC) - The DDC furnishes a dry environment for accomplishing decompression and, if necessary, recompression. The DDC is a multi-compartment, horizontal pressure vessel mounted on the surface-support platform. Each DDC is equipped with living, sanitary, and resting facilities for the dive team. A service lock provides for the passage of food, medical supplies, and ther articles between the diving crew inside the chamber and topside support personnel.
- PTC Handling Systems. Of all the elements of DDS, none are more varied than PTC handling systems. Launch and retrieval of the PTC present significant hazards to the divers during heavy weather and are major factors in configuring and operating the handling system.
Risks & Opportunities
Value opportunities and risks are features or requirements that may add or detract from the overall value offered. To ensure value is maximized attention should be given to the following areas:
- Personnel Experience - Due to the inherent risk involved in diving personnel stringent licensing must take place to verify the qualifications and competency of diving personnel. In addition to this the divers competencies need to be assessed against the work in land and prior similar experience should be demonstrated to ensure a safe and cost efficient operation.
Supply & Demand Dynamics
Sat Diving Services are used in both greenfield and brownfield activities. New offshore projects as well as ongoing maintenance of the ageing offshore platforms drives the demand for Air Diving Services. Both these areas typically suffer during low oil prices as new projects get cancelled or deferred and maintenance activities are scaled back to the minimum.
Divers and equipment are in strong supply. This is further enhanced by the weak oil prices.
The following suppliers operate regionally within the GCC providing Sat Diving services:
- Canyon Offshore
- DeepOcean Group
- DOF Subsea
- Dulam International
- Halul Offshore Services
- Horizon Geoscience
Marine Engineering Diving Services
Buyer's are in a very dominant position due to the competition amongst Suppliers' for market share across a small number of opportunities. Furthermore, risk of new "cheap" entry is always possible.
Portfolio positioning is essential in guiding strategy within the category. The category is positioned based upon three factors; 1) supply risk, 2) profit/value risk, and 3) power structure.
Based upon a detailed analysis the sub-category is positioned as a LEVERAGE sub-category (ie. Low/Medium supply risk, medium profit/value risk).
- Low supply risk is supported by; 1) the large selection of suppliers, 2) the ease of switching, 3) the standardization of equipment, 4) low competitive demand with regional buyers.
- Low/medium profit/value risk is determined by; 1) medium levels of expenditure, 2) low value generation.
- Power is strongly favored towards the Buyer (See External Scanning section)
Total Cost of Ownership
The compensation methodology should remain simple and transparent. Where the services is provided as part of a larger package of services the Sat Diving package will be provided within the daily rate of the vessel/spread or the lump sum provided.
Where Sat Diving services are to be located on the the Buyer provided vessel the compensation methodology should include:
- Mobilisation and Demobilisation Charge - usually on a per mob/demob basis,
- Operating Day Rate - usually a daily charge for ROV per 24hrs,
- Personnel Day Rate - usually a daily charge for Personnel per 12hrs,
It must be noted that where the Air Diving Services are provided onboard the Buyer's vessel, breakdowns in the vessel or the diving spread result in charges being incurred despite no work actually being performed. Following, it is appropriate to carry out a risk analysis to understand where these risk are most appropriately managed based upon the scope of work, budget and time constraints.
The sub-category analysis carried out presents a strong case for a strategy that maintains or further maximizes the power of the buyer.
There are a number of ways in achieving this however the items should be considered:
- Aggregate Spend - Buyer's should look to leverage regional spend across the sub-categories given the commonality of suppliers in the category. This may include Air or SAT Diving Services.
- Competitive Tender - Tenders should be conducted to ensure maximum competition,
- Negotiation Style - Supplier should be approached with direct and hard (slightly aggressive) negotiations. The buyer should capitalize on market intelligence and seek to target prices based upon their understanding of costs and market conditions. Buyer's should target profit margins,
In general the sub-category strategy is focused upon a traditional arm length relationship with the suppliers.