Modeling a next-generation anchoring system for energy giant Helix

Czero recently concluded a laboratory test project for Helix Energy Solutions Group, a global leader in offshore oil and gas well operations, intervention and decommissioning services.

Helix enlisted Czero for advanced modeling and testing of a next-generation anchoring system intended for use by large ocean vessels under demanding conditions. Our team developed a scale model of the system to test all use cases before Helix began manufacturing the 30-ton system for high-seas deployment.

Czero understood our test objectives very quickly and communicated systematically to define the test procedure, scale model details, and test fixture that fulfilled all test requirements quickly and safely. They creatively utilized off-the-shelf items in the scale model to keep its cost low and provided a clear, concise report—including useful insight—within a week of test completion. Helix is very pleased with the service provided by Czero. —Roy Cottrell, Engineering Manager, Helix ESG

Advanced testing and analysis of a complex-to-scale model

Working from full engineering drawings of the primary system, plus rough drawings of other key components, we designed and built scale model components and then tested them in jigs and fixtures to ensure the model perfectly represented the full-scale system. We then performed testing and logged data on the full spectrum of use case scenarios.

Our analysts instrumented the scale-model anchoring system with load cells and logged data to accurately measure the forces on the model system. Even with an approximately one-seventeenth scale model, the forces on the system were in the thousands of pounds.

Creating a scale model of a system like this isn’t linear. For example, surface area and mass scale differently. So scaling can become complex when the goal is to ensure the model accurately represents the dynamics of the full-scale system. —Brian Hood, Mechanical Engineer, Czero

Czero’s motto: getting it right the first time saves money long-term

As you can imagine, engineering a massive anchoring system for demanding sea conditions leaves little room for error, and manufacturing a 30-ton system is no small expense. Czero’s testing confirmed the Helix anchoring system would operate as intended under a wide variety of conditions.

About Helix ESG (HLX)

A publicly traded, $2.7 billion company headquartered in Houston, Texas, Helix offers comprehensive services for subsea contracting and offshore oil and gas well interventions, supported by one of world’s most advanced fleets of monohull and semi-submersible vessels designed for this purpose.