OSV – Offshore Support Vessel

The development of offshore oil and gas fields involve a wide range of marine assets. Offshore operations are by nature complex to execute. There are basically four phases in the E&P(Exploration & Production) cycle of an offshore oil and gas field, like Exploration, Development. Production and Decommissioning. Each phase requires support from different drilling and production assets. The less sophisticated drilling & production assets require more support from OSVs and harsher operating environment will require support from larger deep water capable OSVs.

Focusing on certain tasks within the offshore industry it is important to note that unlike commodity type vessels, OSVs are not standardized marine vessels, specifications can vary greatly depending upon the nature of complexity in the scope of work.

Generally OSVs provide support services to offshore drilling rigs,  pipe laying and oil producing assets (production platforms and FPSOs) utilized in Exploration & Production (E&P) activities. Typical OSVs used in the exploration phase are seismic vessels.

There are many types of OSVs designated for specialized activities. However the three main categories of OSVs namely AHTS(Anchor Handling Tug and Supply), PSV(Platform Supply Vessel) and CSV(Construction Support Vessel).

During production phase OSVs provide necessary supplies to continue the offshore operations with minimal downtime at the facilities. Well intervention vessels are used to extend the lifespan of the oilfield. Other sophisticated assets are used to perform necessary inspection, maintenance and repairs.

AHTS are designed to tow rigs and position the rig’s anchor. It can also supply moderate amount of materials.

PSVs carry out simpler tasks such as cargo runs and supply duties.

CSVs are used for subsea operations and are typically equipped with a large Crane, Heli-deck, and large deck space.

Additional Info – Types of OSVs:

AHT (for Towing & Anchor Handling), AHTS(Anchor Handling Tug and Supply), PSV(Platform Supply Vessels), DSV(Diving Support Vessel), CSV(Construction Support Vessel) WSV(Well Simulation Vessel), CB(Crew Boat), Seismic Vessel, Flat Top Cargo Barge, Work Barge etc. (Note: harbour tugs are used for berthing & un-berthing operations and Multi Cats are mainly used for shallow water operations).