Commercial breakthrough for Lowestoft-based Scour Prevention Systems

Scour Prevention Systems scour prevention mats and cablecrossing units being loaded ready for insta

Scour Prevention Systems scour prevention mats and cablecrossing units being loaded ready for installation in the Southern North Sea. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk company which has developed a patented solution to one of the biggest maintenance issues facing offshore operators has completed its first commercial installation.

Scour Prevention Systems Ltd (SPSL), based in Lowestoft, uses life-expired tyres to form protective mats which lie securely on the sea bed to prevent currents eroding sand from around and under infrastructure such as pipelines, cables and support columns.

This problem, known as “scour”, is a global issue but one of particular significance for the growing wind farm industry off the coast of East Anglia, which accounts for more than half of the UK offshore wind energy market.

Following several years of development, the system was successfuly trialled at a wind farm off the Norfolk coast and the first commercial application has now been completed, as part of an installion in the Southern North Sea oil and gas sector of new fibre optic cables by offshore communications network operator Tampnet.

Special cable crossing units (CCUs) were used to protect pipeline and cable crossings, with tyre mats being laid in layers to form a ramp either side of the pipeline and a conventional scour prevention mat being laid over the top for extra protection.

SPSL is a past winner of the One to Watch category of the East Anglian Daily Times Busines Awards, which is sponsored by Nwes and is open exclusively for members of the EADT’s Suffolk Future50 listing of up-and-coming businesses with high growth potential.

Company chairman John Balch said: “We have a patented solution for preventing and remediating scour for offshore foundations, turbines, platforms, cables and pipelines and everything that needs protecting on the sea bed.

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“Our first commercial project was in the offshore oil and gas industry, working with partners such as Tampnet which has embraced our innovative approach.”

Rolf Bøe, project manager at Tampnet said: “The team at Scour Prevention Systems were great to work with, being more than willing to spend time looking at a new process, and managing to design and construct the units exactly as we had envisioned them. We look forward to working together with the SPSL team in the future.”