Suffolk-based Future50 firm Geosphere pioneers novel river drilling technique

The catamaran-mounted drillinig rig used by Geosphere Environmental in the Orwell and Stour rivers.

The catamaran-mounted drillinig rig used by Geosphere Environmental in the Orwell and Stour rivers. - Credit: Archant

Geotechnical consultancy Geosphere Environmental has carried out an innovative drilling project on behalf of a client in the eastern region’s busiest waterway.

Geosphere, which is based near Ipswich, undertook the work across the River Stour and the River Orwell where they converge, an area used by shipping calling at both the Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, and Harwich International Port, used by many large ferries and cruise ships, as well as a substantial volume of leisure craft.

The work was carried out with a drilling rig fixed to a shallow-draft 26-metre catamaran, retro-fitted with legs which enabled it to manoeuvre in and out of location, and up and down with the tide, for two months.

“This was an innovative approach and novel method which had not been tried before and resulted in the client saving 50% of the cost of using a standard jack-up platform,” a spokesman for Geosphere said.

Geosphere Environmental is a member of the Future50 growth programme which features some of Suffolk and Norfolk’s most innovative companies.

Besides its headquarters at Brightwell, near Ipswich, Geosphere has offices at South Woodham Ferrers in Essex and Wells in Somerset.

It offers a range of geotechnical and geoenvironmental services, including geotechnical site investigation work raging from small residential extensions to large projects for major contractors and geoenvironmental investigations and remediation on contaminated land.

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Its services also cover ecological assessments, invasive species eradication and flood risk assessments, and it also has plans to add consultancy on BREEAM standards for the sustainability of buildings.

The Future50 is funded under Round 6 of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, and is being will be delivered across Suffolk and Norfolk by Nwes and Archant, with partners Barclays, Birketts, Lovewell Blake and the University of East Anglia.