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Finding the right balance

As a market leader for the design of jack-ups, GustoMSC is well acquainted with the challenges that the wind industry faces. In this revealing piece, we take a closer look at these challenges and consider its revolutionary new offering, the NG-5500X series.

When one asks an experienced offshore professional to list some of the key challenges for a jack-up operating in a harsh environment, without a doubt stability and balance will appear on the top of their lists. And not without reason. The key principle of a jack-up is to provide a safe and stable platform under all circumstances within the design envelope.
However, even a solid and stable platform is still not necessarily an efficient jack-up. Only those jack-ups which meet the principle criteria of providing a safe, stable and solid working platform, and also are balanced with respect to all of their main design parameters can be qualified as efficient jack-ups. The typical main parameters are water depth, environment (wind, wave and current) and the variable load (how much can be carried on deck).
For example, it is easy to see why a large crane is required if heavy components need to be installed. To avoid a platform capsizing when slewing with a heavy load over the side, sufficiently-wide leg spacing is required. Wider leg spacing means that the hull needs to become wider. A wider hull is heavier. A heavier hull needs a heavier jacking system and legs, which in turn lead to heavier integration, etc.
This is the typical trap one may fall into when safely combining all maximum requirements. Instead, balancing the leg spacing (and width of the hull) with the crane and operational environment and ensuring a proper survival environment in the most efficient manner, gives a truly efficient jack-up; a solid and reliable platform meeting all requirements at the minimum cost.
Although this may sound trivial, in practice it is not. Ideally it requires owners and operators to look ahead for some years and establish a future proof, balanced set of requirements prior to acquiring a new unit. In general this proves to be rather difficult. But how can an operator or owner determine what is balanced in terms of design input? Only being able to judge the end result (on price and performance) doesn’t provide a solid basis for a well-informed investment decision in the early stages of development.
As a consequence, GustoMSC is often confronted with the challenge to come up with new ideas or concepts or suggest a reasonable and realistic combination of parameters, while not being the end operator and/or owner. As a market leader for the design of jack-ups (propelled and non-propelled), GustoMSC has shown to be able to rise to that challenge.


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